‘Tax Design Challenge’ invites public to imagine taxpayer experience of the future

PHOENIX— The Internal Revenue Service today announced the upcoming start of its first “Tax Design Challenge” competition to encourage innovative ideas for the taxpayer experience of the future.

The effort, being done in coordination with the Mortgage Bankers Association, is a crowdsourcing competition open to the public. The competition will engage teams of designers, developers and innovative thinkers across the U.S. to envision options for taxpayer interactions.

“Crowdsourcing is a new activity for the IRS, but we believe working with citizens and the private sector will help support innovation in an important area for the nation’s tax system,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “The Tax Design Challenge reflects our commitment to find the best ideas and plan for a future state of tax administration that works well for taxpayers and our partners.”

The three-week competition invites the public to imagine the taxpayer experience of the future and specifically design an online experience that better organizes and presents a person’s tax information. The goal is to make it easier for a person to manage their tax responsibilities and use their own tax data to make informed and effective decisions about their personal finances.

David H. Stevens, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said that one of their goals is to help families achieve home ownership.

“The ability to safely obtain and share one’s own tax information is critical to that process,” Stevens said. “Ultimately, the designs produced through this competition could help millions of Americans securely interact with our tax system faster and easier.”

Throughout the competition, participants will have the chance to engage with policy experts and a network of mentors that include world-class strategists and designers from government and nongovernment organizations. The winning designs will be showcased in an online gallery and receive monetary prizes, funded exclusively by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Each submission will be considered for all three prize categories listed below. A review panel will select winners based on defined criteria, and an individual submission can win multiple awards, including:

  • Overall Design — $10,000 (1st), and $5,000 (2nd).
  • Best Taxpayer Usefulness — $2,000 (1st), and $1,000 (2nd)
  • Best Financial Capability — $2,000 (1st), and $1,000 (2nd)

Awards may be subject to federal income taxes.

Submissions will be accepted from April 17 through May 10. Participants must first register on the Tax Design Challenge website. Employees of the IRS and Mortgage Bankers Association are not eligible to participate in the contest.

Since 2010, the federal government has administered more than 660 prize competitions. The Tax Design Challenge is authorized under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (Pub. L. 111-358).

For more information about this or other government-wide challenge programs, visit www.challenge.gov.

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