The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that taxpayers will have the choice to go paperless for all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) correspondence in the upcoming 2024 filing season.
By 2025, the IRS plans to achieve paperless processing for all tax returns, still accepting paper documents but immediately digitizing them, to “cut processing times in half” and “expedite refunds by several weeks,” the Treasury Department said.
The IRS will also be able to extract and analyze data from paperless returns, which could help the agency detect tax evasion that has long been overlooked due to a lack of resources.
Taxpayers who want to submit paper returns and correspondence can continue to do so, but all paper will be converted into digital form as soon as it arrives at the IRS. In 2024, the IRS estimates that “more than 94 percent of individual taxpayers will no longer ever need to send mail to the IRS.”
The IRS updates are funded by provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provides separate funds from the IRS annual budget funds that Republicans in Congress are actively seeking to slash. However, the Treasury Department said that recent technology investments include funds that will “also allow the IRS to continue to meet and enforce industry and government-wide cybersecurity standards and ensure continued protection of taxpayer data.”
Beefing up IRS data security is a top priority for the agency, especially in light of recent data privacy concerns raised by popular e-filing services. To some taxpayers, e-filing and conducting all correspondence online directly with the IRS could provide more assurances of data privacy and security.
The sources for this piece include an article in ArsTechnica.