The IRS is an even bigger mess than originally thought.
While a recent audit by the inspector general of the Treasury Department found the agency did a good job of complying with the Plain Writing Act, requiring federal communications be written in plain English, it also found it has no idea how many messages it sends to taxpayers. It also doesn’t have a complete record of what those messages were.
It also has a problem when it comes to writing in proper and complete English. The Hill reports, “The watchdog also said that half the letters and two-thirds of the notices it examined either weren’t written clearly or didn’t give enough information.”
The problem? IRS employees send too many correspondences to taxpayers each year to be able to track, more than 200 million. According to The Hill, “Agency officials say they have tried to inventory all the messages they send out, but that the sheer number makes that difficult. The IRS office that corresponds with taxpayers also has 44 separate systems it uses to craft letters or notices to taxpayers.”
It’s not a comforting thought to know the agency with the most terrifying return address to find in your mailbox sends out so many letters each year that they can’t even keep track of them. And if you get one, you’re responsible for responding, even though there’s a 50-67 percent chance you won’t be able to understand clearly what they’re asking for.