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
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 "Taxhelp.com" 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
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.