THE BIG PITCH: How would you create greater communication betweenthe IRS and the US public?

Drew Kerr, President, Four Corners Communications, New York

I would take the IRS' top-level brass up to the Catskills, where they

would learn the finer points of dealing with people at Kutsher's Hotel

and then go through some intense "humor training" with comedian Freddie

Roman. Afterwards, I would concoct a plan for more welcoming IRS forms -

they would be designed like baseball cards and Americans would have to

collect the whole series, and trade with their friends. Instead of

player stats, they would be breakdowns of different government divisions

and how the public's money was spent. I can see it now: "I'll trade you

two Christine Whitmans for a Dick Cheney and a public works form!"

Teddi Alyce Segal, Director of agency relationships, CreatAbility, Coral

Gables, FL

Two-part message: "No Taxes - No USA," and "Only pay your fair share."

These would be communicated via TV and lead people to "help outlets,"

including a "" website, with comprehensive information in

English and Spanish, mastering deductions, practice forms, and live Q&A

chats. I would follow up with a PR effort seeking media placements in as

wide a variety of publications, with information about new help-centers

located at IRS offices around nation. Then we could launch "Planning for

the Future" - a school curriculum disseminated to the nations' teachers

with media partner MTV teaching the public about taxation through videos

with stars explaining the meaning of taxes, processes and history.

Hank Boerner, Managing director, Rowan & Blewitt, New York

The IRS has a very difficult mission, which is to convince all of us

that taxes are necessary and that the process is fair.

One thing to do is to enlist the aid of third parties to try and tell a

fairness story. Thought leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet could

talk about how they feel about paying their fair share to help this


Another thing would be to begin working on the next generation, to help

students grasp the tax system. They should also work with editorial

writers in all mediums to help the rest of us understand the system. The

IRS also needs staff training programs on every level, so those in

contact with the public can be kind and gentle, yet still firm and

focused on their main mission - one which will never change - of getting

the money.

Karen Schiff Bommart, Managing director, NYPR, New York

What's understood becomes less dreaded. Rumor has it tax codes have been

simplified, but you'd never know it to from the IRS' "tax speak." All

communications - from the written to the spoken word - must be


Also, although Americans understand that taxes are a fact of life,

they're less clear on where the dollars go. Use graphics to show it

doesn't go into a bottomless pit.

What percentage goes to fix roads? How much goes to education and what

have been the effects? 1040s are people too. Show real IRS workers

handling real cases to demonstrate recent improvements. The view of a

streamlined agency will give people comfort that their money is handled

efficiently and properly.

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