You don’t hear that often…
But a recent experience I had with the IRS was extremely positive. I came away thinking ALL businesses could better anticipate and adapt to our changing world AND the expectations of our clients and customers.
A Little Background
In early 2015, a fraudulent tax return was filed for my 2014 personal return. That’s a little problem, to say the least!
The good news? The IRS blocked it and did NOT process the return.
The bad news? I have been dealing with the ramifications of that — IRS notices for filing, payment notices, etc., because they have not been able to connect our MANUALLY filed paper return correctly. Seriously, being caught up in the IRS machine is painful…and slow.
That led to a conversation with an IRS representative and learned that they never received my Form 14039 — Identity Theft Affidavit. Now we move to…
This is What the IRS Got Right
I operate in a digital / mobile environment and use a workflow that contains as little paper as possible.
In my world, that means I use an iPad tablet to complete most routine paper intensive processes. Well, I was able to do that SEAMLESSLY for completion of the IRS Identity Theft Form.
Here’s how that flowed:
What’s important is that I think many businesses DON’T ANTICIPATE this workflow situation and drop the ball for many of their clients and customers!
1 — The website contained hyperlinks to any content that the taxpayer needs.
In this case, I click on the “Publication 5027 — Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers” and it opens the PDF publication.
2 — The Publication PDF opens in the mobile browser, with active hyperlinks.
I save the publication to my document management app on the iPad.
3 — Click on the Form 14039 hyperlink and I have a fillable PDF form!
The fillable form is the clincher here — easy to complete right on my iPad! Note — you do need an app that works with fillable forms, in this case PDF Expert is my app of choice.
So, what are the takeaways for the rest of us?
- Don’t assume that materials you provide are going to be printed.
- Make it easy for your clients and customers to complete necessary forms — in the fashion they want.
- ANTICIPATE the journey that your client / customer will take and make that process simpler each step of the way!
It’s easier said than done, but in this case the IRS nailed it! If they can get it right, I believe it should motivate us all to do the same!
Don Tomoff is a “recovering CPA”, who is passionate about helping professionals and organizations keep up and adapt to the changing business world that we operate in.
One lesson learned over the years is that all of us, regardless of organization type or size, struggle with similar issues — primarily information management and presentation, and effective use of our time. Let’s change that…one person at a time!
Connect with Don!