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IRS expands its efforts to start scanning digital tax forms

The goal is to make the process smoother for taxpayers

Photo (c) Nora Carol Photography - Getty Images
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has worked to make the tax filing process easier and more efficient for consumers this year. Now, the agency announced it will expand its efforts in scanning digital tax forms. 

“This expansion of scanning is another milestone for the IRS as we work to transform the agency,” said Doug O’Donnell, acting IRS commissioner. “We anticipate expanding scanning of more paper returns in the near future, saving time and creating efficiencies for taxpayers, the business community, as well as tax professionals and the IRS.”  

Starting with Form 940, expanding to more

While the 2023 tax season is still ongoing, the IRS has already seen a massive uptick in scanning paper forms since the start of the filing season. The agency reported that it started with Form 940, and scanning was already at a twenty-fold increase from last year in the first week of March. 

The IRS announced it will be undergoing a Digital Intake initiative, which will expand its efforts at scanning tax forms. The agency will soon include scanning Forms 941 and 1040. 

Currently, the IRS works with Lockbox Financial Agents and other industry partners to make these digital efforts possible. These partnerships allow the IRS to take the information from tax forms and process them electronically – which is ultimately a benefit to taxpayers. 

By digitally scanning tax forms, the process becomes easier and more streamlined for taxpayers. Though the majority of forms are submitted electronically each year, the IRS reported that millions are still submitted with hard copies. 

Electronic submissions ensure that taxes are processed faster, there are likely fewer errors, and the entire process is more efficient. 

'Significant progress'

“We are making significant progress in this effort, and we look to expand scanning efforts dramatically in the months ahead and working toward a fully digital future,” said Harrison Smith, enterprise digitalization and case management office co-director. “We’re building a foundation that will enable us to help taxpayers and businesses for years to come.” 

“Technology powers tax administration and we have completed important work over the last year to help get the assistance they need and reduce paper, in addition to improving the agency’s underlying technology infrastructure,” said Nancy Sieger, chief information officer at the IRS. “This is another positive step in the future technology direction for the IRS that includes improving service to taxpayers.” 

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