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MSP #8: MULTILINGUAL NOTICES

The IRS Undermines Taxpayer Rights When It Does Not Provide Notices in Foreign Languages

TAS Recommendations and IRS Responses

1
1.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-1

Place a checkbox on Form 1040 to allow taxpayers to choose to receive their notices in Spanish and, as more notices are translated, expand the 1040 checkbox to languages other than Spanish.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part of development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is assessing the concept of gathering language preference information from taxpayers to help improve the experience for taxpayers with LEP. The manner in which taxpayers elect their preference is yet to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part of development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is assessing the concept of gathering language preference information from taxpayers to help improve the experience for taxpayers with LEP. The manner in which taxpayers elect their preference is yet to be determined.

Update: Due to limited resources (costs and programming), M&P is unable to add checkboxes to Form 1040. However, Sch LEP is available to allow taxpayers to select their language preference when filing their return.

Update: As part of development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is assessing the concept of gathering language preference information from taxpayers to help improve the experience for taxpayers with LEP. Due to limited resources (costs and programming), M&P is unable to add checkboxes to Form 1040. However, Sch LEP is available to allow taxpayers to select their language preference when filing their return.

TAS RESPONSE: The development of a Schedule LEP, attached to the Form 1040, indicating language preference for notices, would aid in informing taxpayers and would be a useful tool toward compliance.

Update: : TAS concurs in closing this recommendation based on the provided IRS Service-wide Multilingual Improvement Strategy and Action Plan, Volume 1 (April 2022).

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Partially Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

2
2.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-2

Incorporate language information from the ITIN Real Time System in the IRS’s account systems so that if a taxpayer files a Form W-7 in Spanish, an indicator is systemically placed on his or her accounts.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part the development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is considering options for capturing taxpayers language preferences and indicating that preference on the taxpayer’s account. Currently, if the taxpayer submits a Form W-7(SP), the account is noted and the ITIN assignment or renewal notice will generate in Spanish. Expansion to other forms is yet to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part the development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is considering options for capturing taxpayers language preferences and indicating that preference on the taxpayer’s account. Currently, if the taxpayer submits a Form W-7(SP), the account is noted and the ITIN assignment or renewal notice will generate in Spanish. Expansion to other forms is yet to be determined.

TAS RESPONSE: Currently, the language preference captured in the ITIN Real Time System is only applied to ITIN notices, despite other information from the ITIN Real Time System, such as address, being updated in other IRS systems. As the IRS’s Enterprise Multilingual Strategy is rolled out, we recommend the language preference in the ITIN Real Time System be shared with other systems and applied to additional notices.

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Partially Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Open

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): 12/31/2021

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3.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-3

Translate into the five most common non-English languages the IRS webpages that correspond to the four notices identified above (CP 11 – English Math Error on Return – Balance Due; Letter 105C – English Claim Disallowed; Letter 106C – English Claim Partially disallowed; Letter 854C – English Penalty Waiver or Abatement Disallowed/Appeals Procedure Explained), along with other IRS webpages that correspond to other statutory notices and taxpayer rights.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part of development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is studying the translation of additional IRS webpages. The specific webpages to be translated, and the languages to be provided, are yet to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part of development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is studying the translation of additional IRS webpages. The specific webpages to be translated, and the languages to be provided, are yet to be determined.

Update: M&P conducts translations (notices, webpages, tax products) at the request of the English content owner (BOD). To date, we have not received requests to translate the specific items referenced, however, hundreds of items have been translated. The IRS now considers this corrective action completed.

TAS RESPONSE: Translation of additional webpages would be beneficial to informing taxpayers of their rights. The IRS’s commitment to providing multilingual information should include prioritizing the translation of the four webpages that TAS identified above in section 8.3, relating to key statutory notices.

Update: : TAS concurs in closing this recommendation based on the provided IRS Service-wide Multilingual Improvement Strategy and Action Plan, Volume 1 (April 2022).

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Partially Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A 

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4.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-4

Develop a plan to identify additional notices that provide statutory rights and webpages that specifically pertain to those notices to be translated into the top five LEP languages by using the LEP demographics. The plan should include options to create a hyperlink or scannable code on the notices that would direct an LEP taxpayer to a webpage providing alternate language templates of the notice.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part of the development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is developing a plan to identify additional notices to be translated. The specific notices and features to be added are yet to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part of the development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is developing a plan to identify additional notices to be translated. The specific notices and features to be added are yet to be determined.

Update: As part of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Notice Strategy, the IRS has developed a plan to identify additional notices to be translated. To accomplish this, the IRS developed criteria to prioritize which notices to translate based on a methodology that includes the following factors such as taxpayer value, business value and volume. Based on this criteria, 20 selected notices will be translated into the top 5 languages (Spanish, Chinese simplified and traditional, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian) beginning January 2023 through January 2027.

When necessary, Universal Resource Locators (URLs) or QR codes will be placed on correspondence directing taxpayers to specific webpages

TAS RESPONSE: As the development of the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy is visualized, we are excited about working with the IRS to translate additional notices and provide features making it easier for taxpayers requesting notices in languages other than English.

Update: : TAS concurs in closing this recommendation based on the provided IRS Service-wide Multilingual Improvement Strategy and Action Plan, Volume 1 (April 2022).

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Partially Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

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5.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-5

Create procedures similar to those used by the SSA to identify taxpayers who may have LEP, instruct employees to ask these taxpayers about language preference, and allow employees to mark a taxpayer’s account to reflect this preference.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part the Enterprise Multilingual Strategy development activities, the IRS is considering options for capturing a taxpayer’s language preferences and placing that information on the taxpayer’s account. The specific methods for doing so are yet to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part the Enterprise Multilingual Strategy development activities, the IRS is considering options for capturing a taxpayer’s language preferences and placing that information on the taxpayer’s account. The specific methods for doing so are yet to be determined.

Update: Taxpayers use Form 1040 Schedule LEP, Request for Alternative Language Products by Taxpayers With Limited English Proficiency, to state their preference to receive written communications from the IRS in an alternative language, when communications in the language is available. A SERP Alert was submitted and posted educating internal stakeholders that the LEP indicator is located on Masterfile in the IMF Entity Data Section and can be used by all IRS employees to assist in identifying the potential need for translation service. CSR’s can assist with language preference using Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference – per IRM 21.5.2.4.25

TAS RESPONSE: The IRS’s plans to capture taxpayer language preference through employee contacts will benefit taxpayers. We recommend the IRS consider reviewing the practices of other agencies, such as the Social Security Administration.

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

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6.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-6

Place a note on all correspondence providing taxpayers with instructions explaining how to receive their notices in languages other than English.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part of developing the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is assessing the concept of gathering language preference information from taxpayers to help improve the experience for LEP taxpayers. The way in which we communicate instructions to taxpayer is still to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part of developing the IRS Enterprise Multilingual Strategy, the IRS is assessing the concept of gathering language preference information from taxpayers to help improve the experience for LEP taxpayers. The way in which we communicate instructions to taxpayer is still to be determined.

Update: As a part of the Multilingual Strategy to increase awareness of assistance available to non-English speaking Taxpayers, Media & Publications developed Notice 1445, which provides taxpayers with tax help in other Languages. As of November 30, 2021, Notice 1445 has been inserted into over 154 million notices. Taxpayers can use the Schedule LEP to request correspondence in their preferred language. In addition, beginning in the third quarter of 2022, taxpayers will be able to make a preference for language in their on-line account (OLA). The IRS will do an outreach campaign with Communications & Liasion to advertise these available services to taxpayers. The IRS now considers this corrective action completed.

TAS RESPONSE: Including a multilingual insert in the top ten notices is a positive step toward the recommendation. However, we request the IRS provide a website address on all taxpayer notices referencing instructions to solicit notices in other languages.

Update: TAS appreciates the work that IRS has done in implementing the Notice 1445. Closing recommendation as not adopted due to IRS’s challenge to update “all” correspondence with requested instructions and IRS goals to remove inserts from correspondence.​

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Not Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

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7.

TAS RECOMMENDATION #8-7

Expand the LEP indicator and use the indicator to centrally coordinate and record the issuance of notices in languages other than English.

IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: As part of the Enterprise Multilingual Strategy development activities, the IRS is studying options to capture a taxpayer’s language preferences and indicate those preferences on the taxpayer’s account. The IRS will also explore how best to generate notices in the taxpayer’s preferred language. The ways in which this information will be used to issue notices and the languages in which those notices will be provided are yet to be determined.

CORRECTIVE ACTION: As part of the Enterprise Multilingual Strategy development activities, the  IRS  is  studying  options  to capture a taxpayer’s language preferences and indicate those preferences on the taxpayer’s account. The IRS will also explore how best to generate notices in the taxpayer’s preferred language. The ways in which this information will be used to issue notices and the languages in which those notices will be provided are yet to be determined.

Update: Taxpayers use Form 1040 Schedule LEP, Request for Alternative Language Products by Taxpayers With Limited English Proficiency, to state their preference to receive written communications from the IRS in an alternative language, when communications in the language is available. A SERP Alert was submitted and posted educating internal stakeholders that the LEP indicator is located on Masterfile in the IMF Entity Data Section and can be used by all IRS employees to assist in identifying the potential need for translation service.

Also, as part of the IRS Multilingual Strategy, a Language Used Indicator (LUI) has been developed that identify the language a notice was issued. The LUI will be used for measuring language issued versus language preference. CSR’s can assist with language preference using Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference – per IRM 21.5.2.4.25

TAS RESPONSE: TAS will continue to work with the IRS on language preference options for taxpayers’ accounts for the purpose of generating notices in their chosen language.

Update:: TAS concurs in closing this recommendation based on the provided IRS Service-wide Multilingual Improvement Strategy and Action Plan, Volume 1 (April 2022).

ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Partially Adopted

OPEN or CLOSED: Closed

DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A

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