News Releases

News Releases

Official news releases from the Federation of Tax Administrators.  Questions regarding news releases should be directed to Verenda Smith at verenda.smith@taxadmin.org.


 

Monday, February 08, 2016 05:57 PM

KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
WINNER OF
2016 FTA AWARD FOR COMPLIANCE

 
WASHINGTON, D.C. (FEBRUARY 8, 2016).  The Kentucky Department of Revenue’s Computer Assisted Collection System is winner of the 2016 FTA Award for Collections.
 
The award will be presented at the FTA Annual Meeting, June 12-15 in Annapolis, Md. Kentucky has been invited to present the details of its program during the Compliance breakout.
 
Judges were Harley Duncan, KPMG; Clare Calaby, IRS; and Lila Disque, Multistate Tax Commission.
 
When the collections caseload more than doubled between FY 2010 and BY 2014 – the result of a focus on improving compliance, legislation that directed Kentucky to collect other government agency debts and the economic downturn – the agency had to find a way to perform its work with existing staffing.  It looked for greater flexibility to automate processes and better capability to score and prioritize caseloads. 
 
The result was to transfer a mainframe collections tool to an online tool. The agency was able to automatically issue final notices and levies on active cases. Routine tasks and alerts are now automated. Taxpayers can enjoy a self-service portal. Workers can use flexible correspondence templates. When a taxpayer has more than one kind of overdue tax (such as sales and employee withholding), cases can be combined. Because many processes are now automated, collectors have more time for taxpayer service. Kentucky has new authority to revoke or suspend professional licenses, vehicle registration and driver’s licenses where other forms of collection have not been successful. The necessary notices to the taxpayer can now be issued in a controlled volume using separate letter templates, with accompanying letters to the appropriate licensing board.
 
Kentucky plans for improvement in coming months includes the ability to allow taxpayers to make secure credit card payments on their pay plans.
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About the organization. The Federation of Tax Administrators is a nonprofit association composed of the taxation and revenue agencies in the 50 states, District of Columbia, New York City and Philadelphia. Its principal programs are rooted in information exchange, training and intergovernmental coordination. Its mission is to improve the standards and methods of tax administration.

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Contact:
Verenda Smith
202-624-8443
Verenda.Smith@taxadmin.org
 
Monday, February 08, 2016 05:54 PM

WASHINGTON STATE WINNER OF
2016 FTA AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION
WISCONSIN AWARDED HONORABLE MENTION


 
WASHINGTON, D.C. (FEBRUARY 8, 2016).  The Washington State Department of Revenue’s Enterprise Risk Management program is winner of the 2016 FTA Award for Management and Organization.  Judges awarded the Wisconsin Department of Revenue an honorable mention in the category for its employee engagement program.
 
Awards will be presented at the FTA Annual Meeting, June 12-15 in Annapolis, Md. The winning agencies have been invited to present the details of their programs during the Management breakout.
 
Judges were Harley Duncan, KPMG; Clare Calaby, Internal Revenue Service; and Lila Disque, Multistate Tax Commission.
 
Washington State’s program is a comprehensive approach to minimizing the risk of mistakes in a government operation. The traditional approach for government to minimize risk is to generate policies and procedures. The Department of Revenue says its new Enterprise Risk Management  approach can better identify and address the unique risks faced by a tax agency.
 
The program recognizes that, for a tax agency, risk management goes beyond employee safety to include a fiduciary responsibility to the state. Risk management must consider risks at the strategic level of the organization and define areas that could keep the agency from achieving its business plan goals. The program establishes a disciplined approach for employees to identify and tackle all the types of obstacles that would impede success.
 
The agency has refined the program as it matures, creating tools such as a Risk Radar and a Fundamentals Map (which includes outcome measures and process measures), and developing a “risk appetite.”
 
Judges said the approach would be complex for other states to adopt but that it is an important program, in part because “it shows that you have risk other than people taking cash. Risk management is important. We’re not just collection agencies. We’re doing more customer services, data services, financial services. This helps you focus and get the big picture.”
 
Judges named Wisconsin as an honorable mention winner because of the program’s easy-to-adopt approach. Wisconsin’s program is based on a tightly designed employee survey taken in 2014 and again in 2015 that yielded concrete action plans for improvement. Strategies put in place after the 2014 survey included enhanced morning meetings with the Secretary, posting Lean project successes on the agency’s internal blog and publicly acknowledging when an idea by an employee is used in a decision or process.
 
Judges called the program “a good effort, straightforward, easy and simple. Wisconsin deserves plaudits. Wisconsin definitely did it right. They kept it focused. It’s a good management tool for them.  They had actionable ideas on how to improve. A lot of people could just take this and begin to do it.”
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About the organization: The Federation of Tax Administrators is a nonprofit association composed of the taxation and revenue agencies in the 50 states, District of Columbia, New York City and Philadelphia. Its principal programs are rooted in information exchange, training and intergovernmental coordination. Its mission is to improve the standards and methods of tax administration.

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Contact:
Verenda Smith
202-624-8443
Verenda.Smith@taxadmin.org
 
Monday, February 08, 2016 05:34 PM
DOREEN WARREN OF THE IDAHO TAX COMMISSION
WINS FTA’S HARLEY T. DUNCAN AWARD for
LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE

 
       (Washington D.C.  FEBRUARY 8, 2016) The Federation of Tax Administrators announced today that Doreen Warren of the Idaho Tax Commission is the recipient of the 2016 Harley T. Duncan Award for Leadership and Service. The award is presented each year to an individual who has demonstrated sustained and significant service in the administration of state taxes. Judging is performed by the Executive Committee of the FTA Board of Trustees.
 
            Presentation of the award will take place during the FTA Annual Meeting, June 12-15 in Annapolis, Md.
 
            Warren has a long history of sharing her service with the FTA member agencies. Currently she is the state co-chair of the FTA-NACTP Fraud Working Group, responsible for leading the state-industry effort to reduce income tax refund fraud. In particular she has provided key contributions to the development of new “trusted customer” measures that provide greater confidence in a taxpayer’s identity.
 
She is also the overall coordinator of all state tax agency participation in the new Security Summit, in which states, the IRS and software developers coordinate activities and work together to develop new protections against refund fraud.
 
She has been the state co-chair of the FTA-IRS Tactical Advisory Group, which coordinates electronic tax administration issues that affect multiple states and the IRS. This work ranges from joint disaster preparedness communications to dealing with the IRS’s adoption of tax preparer Efile mandates. She is a member of the executive council of the 1040 Modernized Efiling program working group. She has represented Idaho in the states’ collaborative development of computer standards. In the 1990s, during her time with the FTA Motor Fuel Tax Section Uniformity Committee she was one of only two persons selected nationally to help perfect a new data distribution project, and she was part of a four-person Motor Fuel Redesign Team that created new reporting techniques that are still in use today.

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About FTA and The Award: The Federation of Tax Administrators is a nonprofit organization composed of taxation and revenue departments of the fifty states, District of Columbia, New York City and Philadelphia. Its mission is to improve the standards and methods of tax administration. Its principal programs are rooted in information exchange, training and intergovernmental coordination. The award is named after Harley Duncan, executive director from 1988 to 2008, “in recognition of 20 years of setting the example.”

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CONTACT: 

Verenda Smith
202-255-8282

Verenda.Smith@taxadmin.org
 
Monday, April 21, 2014 12:00 AM

WISCONSIN CO-WINNER OF
2014 FTA AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION
Washington State given honorable mention

WASHINGTON, D.C. (APRIL 21, 2014). The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is one of two winners of the 2014 FTA Award for Technology. New York’s winning program, Fraudulent Refund Prevention, was featured last week. Wisconsin’s winning entry is a collection of “small applications,” specifically arevenue mobile app and an electronic receptionist that allow the taxpayer to self-serve while improving customer interactions and agency efficiency.

Technology Award judges also wanted to draw special attention to a program in Washington State, awarding an honorable mention to the Property Tax Geographic Information System.

Awards will be presented at the FTA Annual Meeting, June 8-11 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The winning agencies have been invited to present the details of their programs during the Technology breakout.

Judges were John Vranna, retired tax administrator; Steve Miller, retired tax administrator; and Karla Hulett, American Trucking Association.

Wisconsin’s mobile app is designed for citizens who interact with the agency on a regular basis. It connects to the most popular online services, including refund look-up, estimated tax look-up, free tax help site locations, how-to videos, news updates, contact info and the agency’s Twitter feed. Thirteen percent of all refund inquiries now come through the app. A governance group met quarterly as components were rolled out to evaluate them and discuss modifications. A withholding calculator and sales tax rate lookup are in the works.

The electronic receptionist was designed to improve a walk-in problem at the Milwaukee office, which handles tax questions, delinquency resolution, permitting and redeems winning lottery tickets.

Citizens who enter the small office can choose Spanish or English, and they electronically enter a name and reason for visit (choosing from a list). The information goes to work queues. When a person with the necessary expertise is available, that person will assist the next person in the queue.

Supervisors can monitor traffic and call for backup assistance when necessary, and they have data that helps them make other management decisions. The check-in line has disappeared, so taxpayers can spend their waiting time in chairs. Because of security and infrastructure constraints, the agency locked an iPad to a portable stand (also locked). The iPad is moved and charged overnight. The agency bought off-the-shelf software, a product from Check In Systems Inc.

Judges felt that these two developments demonstrated thinking that is “out of the box” and involves innovative development that employs modest and easily achievable applications of technology. In particular, the Electronic Receptionist initiative enables quick-assistance triage decisions through improved data gathering and taxpayer self-service and represents a direction that all states should consider.

The Federation of Tax Administrators is a nonprofit organization composed of taxation and revenue departments of the fifty states, District of Columbia, New York City and Philadelphia. Its mission is to improve the standards and methods of tax administration

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CONTACT: Jonathan Lyon 
202-255-8282

 
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