June 15, 2001
9:03 AM   Subscribe

Looks like the Internal Revenue Service is trying to soften their image with a cutesy design of their Web site. Are you buying this? I'm not!
posted by Sal Amander (12 comments total)
Am I missing something? Hasn't this design been up for over a year or so?
posted by Hankins at 9:07 AM on June 15, 2001

I think it's been far longer than that. The first time I ever accessed this site, it looked the same - and check out those internal pages!


Yeah, it's a bit on the cutesy-poo side. My beef is with the so-called helpers/wizards on the internal pages. A lot of them are just as complicated as figuring things out on your own.
posted by hijinx at 9:11 AM on June 15, 2001

Oh. Maybe sal meant this - now that's the menacing government agency I know and loathe!
posted by hijinx at 9:12 AM on June 15, 2001

The new design is a definite improvement. Just try finding the forms and publications on the existing site.
posted by mrbula at 9:24 AM on June 15, 2001

Sorry, this was the first time I went to the site, so it was new to me. And since I searched to see if it had been posted here before (I don't ever want to achieve DoublePostGuy status), I thought I should share.
posted by Sal Amander at 9:27 AM on June 15, 2001

I hadn't seen it. Of course, all my drug money income goes directly to the Cayman Islands.

"Jeepers! Can I deduct ammunition costs for my mob hits?"
posted by Skot at 9:34 AM on June 15, 2001

I'm not sure if the IRS still does this, but years ago you could buy an IRS Christmas Tree ornament. I was dying to have that one, and wonder why more agencies don't offer them. There's my OSHA ornament (one of Santa's elves slipping down in the snow), next to the angel with "ATF" on her wings, etc.

Anyway, if you're looking to get outraged by a image-softening, that's OK, but please note that you're a bit late.
posted by raysmj at 9:47 AM on June 15, 2001

In a suprise move to go along with the redesign of their website, the IRS today announced that they will be replacing up to 80% of their field auditors with cute and cuddly albino bunnies with pink noses.

"We've decided to soften our image. Nobody likes having an auditor knock on thier door, and, understandably, they're reluctant to fully cooperate. With our shift to a rabbit-centered workforce, we hope to reduce or eliminate this problem," said an agent that wishes to remain anonymous.

The bunnies are rumored to be imported from the Cave of Caerbannog.
posted by OneBallJay at 10:29 AM on June 15, 2001

...and anybody delinquent on less that 25,000 in taxes will just get the Comfy Chair...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:52 AM on June 15, 2001

Is it just me, or is the design embarrasingly bad? The text isn't aligned properly in a ton of places (look at the top graphic) and there are jaggies everywhere. Ah well.
posted by Kevs at 11:26 AM on June 15, 2001

Interesting to compare: CIA homepage, NSA homepage. The latter even has a kids' page (for Future Spooks of America?).
posted by beagle at 12:37 PM on June 15, 2001

Yes, this design is, like, two years old at least. I think some of the form searches are incrementally improved, but they're still pretty non-obvious.

If you'll recall back in '98 Congress held hearings on how the mean-spirited IRS was chasing down people and shaking them for money, viz. the innocent-spouse cases. (No mention during the hearings that they were enforcing laws Congress had passed, naturally. I suppose the IRS was making up the laws as they went.) Since then they've been under a mandate to improve "customer service", open up to reasonable "offers in compromise" to settle back taxes or pay them in installments, reduce the number of audits, and improve their web site and telephone help lines. They no longer do any of the once-dreaded "lifestyle audits", where hapless taxpayers were randomly chosen to be control cases for determining statistical models of what types of income and tax shelters led to how much fraud and abuse, which involved basically every single intrusion legally at the IRS's disposal ... and regular auditing has been cut in half.

It may not seem like it from the tax "bite", but the IRS is considerably more toothless than they used to be.
posted by dhartung at 1:06 PM on June 15, 2001

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