IRS Hackathons: Can We Please Get These Started

Dear IRS:

Let me preface this by saying, I love you – please don’t take this the wrong way or get mad at me.

That being said, can we please get something going in terms of dramatically ramping up the hacking of the IRS.  No, I don’t mean hacking in terms of computer security, I mean the type of hacking that occurs at Startup Weekends everywhere around the world every weekend. Or the government hacking movement being led by groups like Code for America.  I’ll even bet that now that they have a lot more paperwork to fill out, thanks to their IPO, that the folks at Facebook would be happy to devote one of their legendary hack days to your processes, paperwork and online solutions (or lack thereof).

Partner up with an existing group (Intuit, data.gov, Startup America, Startup Weekend, Incubators, VC Firms, Accelerators, etc) so you don’t even have to do most of the work in finding talented people or organizing it.  Hire an intern to create the online resource library, api’s, datasets, and other things that are openly available for anyone that wants to improve it.  Hold a contest with some of that tax money you collect.

Sure, I’m asking this on behalf of the fact that I am amazed every year at the process of getting my taxes done and the various forms of paperwork I have had to file over the years for various reasons, but I’m also asking this on behalf of the country.  Wouldn’t a much more improved process help streamline things enough that we’d save a large amount of money as a country, and entice more and more people to work with the IRS, instead of against it.  Couldn’t we build and integrate things that more accurately and automatically track, monitor and enforce the right policies.

Please, we need this.

Now, in the spirit of not just throwing this out there and not being willing to do something about it, I’m more than happy to sponsor and help execute a hack day event for the paperwork and processes related to running a non-profit organization.  Let me know if you’re interested.  This isn’t really meant as a message to the IRS, but to all of us everywhere that have ever had to figure out which was the right form or how to carry the number from line 92A, Section III over to page 15 line 72C, Section XI.

Matt Kane

And if you missed it check out that article mentioned above about adding a hack day to your business – Hack Days: Not Just for Facebookers

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