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A new look for the IRS website

The Internal Revenue Service catches a lot of flak, much of it deserved.

But one thing the agency has done well is its website, especially when you consider that it must deal with rapidly changing technology under the constraints of federal budget and contracting rules.

Now the IRS is upgrading its Web presence once again.     

If you think the preview page, pictured below, looks familiar, you're right. The new home page design has been up for months. But the changes there, says the IRS, will be extended throughout the entire site on Thursday, Aug. 30.

IRS website redesignClick image to go to the preview page.

Check out the preview. As you can see from the column on the right in the snippet above, the IRS details its key upgrades, which include not only a new look but also some work under the website's hood.

Here are some highlights:

  • The current navigation structure, and all the information on this site, will remain available. The "Information for..." menu, located at the top of every page, allows you to select your role (individual, business, non-profit, tax professional, retirement plan administrator, etc.) to navigate the new the same way you do now.
  • After thoroughly analyzing usage data, the agency identified the most visited pages and most used tools. As a result, the main navigation has been modified to be intent driven; that is, it will accommodate users' primary needs, which are to get information about filing, payments, refunds, credits and forms.
  • The new Online Tools section provides home page access to a variety of tools designed to promote online interaction with the IRS. The list of tools will change regularly to coincide with filing and registration due dates, new program launches or system enhancements.

The IRS also says this is just the beginning.

The site's search engine should evolve as the site is used more and more, says the IRS, and it will leverage new search capabilities to better tag and target content so that searches will be more relevant. In addition, related forms and publications will be featured in a separate section on the search results page.

The IRS promises that if you've bookmarked some of Web pages, your shortcut should still take you where you want to go. But just to be sure, check out your browser bookmarks after the new-look site is operational on Aug. 30.

Labor Day tax break: Meanwhile, some other IRS online functions will be unavailable over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

During the planned outage between noon Eastern Time Friday, Aug. 31, through noon ET Tuesday, Sept. 4, the IRS will replace and upgrade a computing center electrical plant.

That means that various e-services, including online applications for Employer Identification Numbers, will be unavailable during those hours.

In addition, the Modernized eFile (MeF) system will be unavailable beginning approximately 3 p.m. ET Friday, Aug. 31 until approximately noon ET Tuesday, Sept. 4.

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