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IRS receives 1 millionth uploaded tax document


There’s good news for the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to get rid of as much paper as possible. The agency’s Document Upload Tool, or DUT, recently received its 1 millionth taxpayer submission.

The online option lets taxpayers and tax professionals respond digitally to a wide range of tax issues. One of those issues is potentially underreported income, which prompts the IRS to issue Notice CP2000.

With the DUT, taxpayers or their preparers can easily scan the material that answers the notice’s questions and electronically submit it to the agency, said the IRS.

DUT growth: The upload tool was launched in 2021 on a limited basis, and usage has grown steadily, according to the IRS.

The agency says that since 2022, average monthly use of the DUT has more than doubled every year, from around 16,000 in 2022, to around 37,000 in 2023, and finally almost 84,000 so far in 2024.

During the first six months of the 2024 fiscal year (October 2023 through March 2024) alone, more than 265,000 taxpayers used the tool, and “the number continues to grow each month,” according to the IRS.

Part of that recent increase in DUT use likely is because it was expanded last year, thanks largely to added fund the IRS received in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Paper pile-up problems: The IRS receives about 76 million paper tax returns and forms, as well as 125 million pieces of correspondence, notice responses, and non-tax forms each year.

In the past, the agency’s limited capability to accept these forms digitally or to digitize paper has added time-consuming steps. For decades, the only option available was to have taxpayers or their representatives mail or fax these documents to the tax agency.

In addition to creating challenges for IRS employees, the agency says the paper process also has caused problems for taxpayers and tax professionals.

That paper problem was made all too clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when IRS offices closed, mailed tax returns and notice responses piled up across the country.

That paper backlog at best meant taxpayers’ refunds were delayed. At worst, taxpayers had to deal with erroneously notified that they had failed to file or respond to IRS queries on a timely basis.

Making digital options more available: Now, the IRS estimates that more than 94 percent of individual taxpayers will have the option of no longer having to send mail to the IRS. That potentially could replace up to 125 million paper documents per year, easing the paperwork burden for both them and the IRS.

“The Document Upload Tool is a key part of our ambitious initiative to transform the IRS into a virtually paperless agency, and we continue to see increased use of this by taxpayers. This tool saves time for taxpayers and helps IRS employees process responses faster and more efficiently,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in announcing last week the digital achievement.

Award-worthy digital options: The IRS announcement also noted that that the IRS team of leaders that oversaw last year’s sweeping DUT expansion is now a finalist for the 2024 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. Known as the Sammies, the service awards are considered to be the Oscars of public service.

Reaching the 1 million milestone also earns this weekend’s By the Numbers recognition. It’s not the Sammies, but BtN is a sincere salute to IRS efforts to modernize the agency.

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