It is proposed that a “process tree” or “workflow” of sorts be utilized online enabling the taxpayer to be routed to the correct form needed when requesting third party authorization.
1. Implementation of key words in online searches on irs.gov to direct taxpayer to correct information: i.e., authorization, assist, power of attorney, help with filing, etc.
2. Utilize process forks as answers to the following questions that will direct the taxpayer to the correct form, online and in phone conversations on help lines:
o Do you need someone to fill out forms on your behalf? (Form 2848, Power of Attorney)
o Do you need someone to view your tax information? (Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization)
OLS agrees with the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel’s (TAP’s) finding that when the search terms “assist” and “help with” are used on IRS.gov, search results don’t help taxpayers understand the differences between Forms 2848 and 8821.
OLS analyzed search terms and found that these terms are both broad context and not frequently used. Associating “help with” and “assist” with definitive topics such as power of attorney and information authorization will not benefit most taxpayers.
To help meet the objective of ensuring that taxpayers are using the correct third-party form, and not providing the third-party undue or unwanted access to taxpayer information/data, OLS used search optimization techniques to promote the Third Party Authorization Purpose page on IRS.gov. This page provides detailed explanation of the two forms. OLS increased findability for both Forms 2848 and 8821 by creating Top Recommendation entries to the complimentary “About” pages for these forms on January 8, 2020.
By March 1, OLS plans to include the Third-Party Authorization Purpose page as a complementary result in the recommendation call-out to promote discovery and help taxpayers determine which third party form meets their needs.
OLS will conduct additional keyword research to identify additional related keywords, and further adjust Top Recommendations as needed, and will discuss website content related to Third Party Authorizations with content owners to determine if changes or enhancements are appropriate. These activities are ongoing.