Tax 2.0: How tax agencies can benefit from web 2.0

This article provides a listing of ten ways tax agencies around the world have or are using web 2.0 in various ways.

I’m smack in the middle of preparing material for a seminar on Social Media for a group of senior executives from revenue collection agencies around Australia and nearby jurisdictions.

As part of my research I’ve been scouring the web for examples of tax and revenue agencies using web 2.0 tools as part of their operations. Here’s a short list of some of my favourites so far. First up is a great video created by a member of the public as part of a Canadian Revenue Agency YouTube competition to promote the loss of revenue due to the cash economy. Any other examples would be greatly appreciated.

  1. First Home Buyer Grant – iPhone App by the Victorian (Australia) State Revenue Office. A very neat little single purpose application for helping people new to the property market work out whether and how much financial assistance they can get from the state.
  2. Go Tax Canada – iPhone App for mobile submission of 2010 tax return incorporates camera function to take pics of receipts.
  3. Underground Economy Video Contest – This is just one of many great entries to the 2010 YouTube contest run by Canada Revenue Agency to promote the problem of the cash economy.
  4. Twitter terms of Use – Canada Revenue Agency’s Twitter policy guide for the community and staff.
  5. IRS Mutlimedia Page – includes links through to podcasts, audio clips, and press clippings; along with English, Spanish and American Sign Language YouTube channels.
  6. IRS American Sign Language YouTube Channel – this resource deserves a mention of its own. No other agency comes close to providing such an accessible resource. I standing ovation for the IRA please!
  7. Transforming Washington’s Budget – While not strictly tax related a lot of these type of brainstorming exercises are popping up. This one provides a pointer towards the opportunity to ask a more targeted community of stakeholders about possible changes to tax law.
  8. RSS Feeds from the Australian Taxation Office – Easily the best example of the use of tailored RSS feeds I have come across with fourteen different feeds to choose from depending on your particular tax fancy, from ‘Agreesive Tax Planning’ to ‘Youth’.
  9. Washington State Department of Revenue Facebook Page – In truth this is not a great example of the use of Facebook but it was the only example I could find of a revenue agency using Facebook! Which is a little sad.
  10. Moira Stewart Video Series for the HM Revenue and Customs. This was a lovely campaign to create awareness about changes to the submission deadlines for tax returns on the UK. I love the use of humour to deal with what would otherwise have been a bone dry issue. The effectiveness of the campaign is substantiated by the number of YouTube views.

And, as an aside, if you’re looking for an example what Tax 2.0 is NOT, you can’t go past the Tax 2.0 site set up by a group of US based tax accountants in an effort to elevate the importance of their profession up the corporate ladder. Although very slick, there is absolutely nothing 2.0 about it!

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