The IRS Expands Multilingual Resources and Services
Tax time can be frustrating for any taxpayer, but it can be especially difficult for those that aren’t fluent in English. Without the necessary resources, foreign speaking individuals may struggle to get returns completed.
The IRS has recognized the difficulties these taxpayers are facing and answered the call by offering expanded multilingual resources and services.
The IRS Policy on Language Assistance
Executive Order 13166 dates back to Aug. 11, 2020 and requires federal agencies to offer limited English taxpayers language assistance in the translation of regularly encountered vital documents. This coincides with an IRS policy statement that assures that taxpayers will be able to access necessary translation resources and will be provided language assistance whenever possible.
What is OPI?
OPI (Over the Phone Interpreter) services brings a language interpreter into telephone calls between IRS employees and taxpayers via a three-way call. The service is free and available 24/7. It covers over 350 languages and security measures are put in place to ensure taxpayer information is kept safe.
Recently the service was expanded to increase accessibility. Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, a new toll-free line was established giving foreign language taxpayers the option to select English, Spanish or another language so they can get the help they need. New IRS toll-free line: (833) 553 9895
Other Features of the Multi-Language Initiative
- The 2020 Form 1040 U.S. Individual Tax Return will be available in Spanish for the first time ever. It will also allow taxpayers to indicate the language they would like to be contacted in.
- Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer and other basic documents on IRS.gov are now available in 20 languages.
- The 2020 version of Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax will be available in six languages other than English.
- The IRS is inserting information about translation services and other multilingual options into some taxpayer notices.
The IRS’s Multi-Language Initiative has increased the agency’s ability to help more foreign speaking individuals that call in. They are continuing their outreach on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.