IRS Gets Serious About Its Website

We are delighted to report that the IRS is currently in the process of revamping its website,

In March, the IRS decided to crowdsource this project with the Tax Design Challenge on, which hosts open contests for people to submit their own solutions to various government challenges.

It’s an unfortunate truth that most government sites appear to have been designed sometime around 2004. The current is a nice exception to this, as it is competently designed and at least somewhat modern-looking. However, there is always room for improvement in the world of web design. Among other issues,’s homepage is not the most readable, asking users to sort through several columns of plain text links in order to find what they need.

In addition, the interface could certainly use a touch-up. Given that IRS collects and dispenses some of the most important personal information we have, it makes sense that should have an interface that know we can trust. When we go to a website that looks modern and clean, we naturally assume that that website is reputable and safe. On the other hand, when a website is laid out in a way that looks old and clunky, we usually aren’t as excited about giving it our personal information.

This is where the winning competitors of the Tax Design Challenge may be able to help. The four winners, announced June 10th, offer attractive and modern new designs for the IRS website which could go a long way in creating trust and enabling a better tax experience for users. Below are the winning entries, which were chosen based on overall design, taxpayer usefulness, and financial capability.

Andrew Miller, IRS MyService (overall design, taxpayer usefulness):

Miller’s IRS MyService design offers a very user-friendly design which makes key information easy to read by separating it onto cards. Just as displays each item and its corresponding info within its own card, IRS MyService has a card for each of your tax returns. 

One of my favorite features of Miller’s design is its eye-catching notification system. If social media has taught us anything about web design, it’s that people love to click on their notifications. These little orange bubbles will allow the IRS to highlight sensitive deadlines and prompt the user to action. Filing taxes can be an aggravating process for many people, and these notifications could go a long way to streamline the experience and alleviate stress. 

Andrea Angquist, IRS 365 (overall design 2, taxpayer usefulness 2)

By designing a mobile-first interface, similar to social media platforms like Facebook, Angquist looks to transform tax filing from a burdensome chore to an ordinary series of smartphone taps. As its name suggests, IRS 365 wants to make your taxes more familiar and easier to interact with. 

Angquist’s emphasis on mobile experience is especially important in light of recent trends in internet access. According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, around 20% or households get all of their internet access from mobile data plans. 

As a side note, I really like the stylistic choice to use “tax positive” screensavers at the login screen. Giving people a dose of positivism about the role of taxes in our society seems like a great idea that will make everybody’s IRS experience a little bit more pleasant. 

Sam Nguyen and Vidhika Bansal, taxez (financial capability) 

Although I am not a big fan of spelling “taxes” with a “z,” I have to admit that Nguyen and Bansal’s design looks very easy to use. Color-coding goes a long way when people are dealing with complicated forms, and taxez uses colors perfectly: blue for neutral menu options, green for positive values and “yes” actions, red for negative values and “no” actions. It may not be the most attractive design on the list, but it might ultimately be the most user-friendly.  

Dante Vono, MyTaxOnline (financial capability 2) 

Vono rounds out our list of winners with his very clean MyTaxOnline design. This website looks simple, professional, and modern, and is perhaps the best fit for the IRS in terms of aesthetics. Complete with alerts for important deadlines and a no-nonsense presentation style, MyTaxOnline would be a natural and welcome successor to