The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is adding barcode technology to its tax notices.
Starting this month, the IRS will add QR codes to certain tax notices. QR stands for quick response, since the code can convey a lot of information to your smartphone in a short period of time. It’s similar to a barcode but can transfer more information, including internet addresses.
QR codes are a combination of pixels. Each piece of the code conveys specific information – the combination can generate a lot of information. To read the information, you scan the QR Code with a smartphone.
The IRS is using the technology to allow taxpayers to scan codes on two particular notices, the CP14 or CP14 IA, with their smartphone and go directly to IRS.gov. From there, taxpayers can securely access their account, set up a payment plan or contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
A CP14 notice is your first notification from the IRS that you owe money on unpaid taxes. It looks like this:
The IRS typically sends more than 8 million CP14 notices each year. Adding a QR code to the notices allows taxpayers to go directly to payment options, including installment agreements.
“These codes will give taxpayers immediate access to the most important information for them to pay their balances, set up payment agreements or reach out for help,” said Darren Guillot, the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Deputy Commissioner for Collection and Operations Support. “We understand there’s a lot of information on the web, and we want to give taxpayers more secure tools that can more easily help them resolve their tax situations.”
“This will help make the entire process easier for taxpayers,” Guillot added.
If all goes well, this may be the first of many: the IRS is assessing the possibility of adding other QR codes to other balance due notices in the future.