Taxes are FUN, Just ask the IRS: A Conversation with IRS Program Analyst Kristen Deazeley (Bonus)

Paying taxes sucks. We all know that. But the IRS doesn’t see it that way. In truth, the IRS expects us all to pay our taxes, but they really only want us to pay what we owe, no more, no less. And the IRS really will help you pay the correct amount. Kristien Deazeley of the IRS explains.


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Kristen Deazeley: People are like, Are you really from the IRS? And I thought, who do they think we’re putting out here? We are. We are the IRS. We explain what we do. So I think maybe they don’t associate that with a real person. But we are real people answering questions. I really think that, you know, in my experience, taxpayers wanted it. They wanted some additional knowledge. They they wanted to learn. I want them to be empowered to feel better at tax time, to feel more confident at tax time. Someone had written you actually made taxes sound fun. And so I thought, wow, that that real that was really the ultimate endorsed Mitt.

David Martin: Welcome to the Good government show. I’m your host, Dave Martin, and I’m about to have a conversation with the Internal Revenue Service. Yes. Listeners, today you’re going to hear about good government from the IRS. You’re going to hear from Kristin Deazeley. She’s a communications liaison and she does tax outreach and education. So she spent her career explaining how the IRS can help.

Really, That’s what she does. So here’s something I didn’t know. The IRS has something called the taxpayer Bill of Rights. And if you go to IRS dot gov GOP, you can read them. Christine discusses one of them, but the last one is called the Right to a Fair and just tax system. Now, that’s certainly a good place to start.

I think if you ask most Americans to name their least favored government organization, I think the IRS would be on the top of most people’s lists. So we here at a good government shelter ought to be interesting to hear from the IRS and how they really try to provide good government. And based on this conversation, they do really, They do.

Remember, the IRS refunds nearly $270 million a year. So join me in my conversation with the Internal Revenue Service. That’s coming up right after the break.

The good government show is sponsored by NACO. That’s the National Association of Counties. County Government is actually the oldest form of government in the United States, and it touches more people directly. Roads, highways, hospitals, schools, recycling law enforcement, water and sewers in most of the country, those services are maintained by the county that’s county government. Naco is a nationwide organization that represents all 3069 counties across the U.S. Naco helps county government work better together through things like sharing best practices.

Because when county government works well, well, that’s just good government.

Welcome to the Good Government show. I’m your host, Dave Martin. And I have a very special guest with us today, Miss Kristin Beasley from the IRS. Thank you for joining us.

Kristen Deazeley: Thank you, David, for having me and inviting me this morning.

David Martin: You’re welcome. This is a little different than what we normally do. Usually we were talking one on one with political leaders, but we like to talk about all forms and all aspects of government and how, you know, government works across the board. So it’ll be, I hope, an interesting conversation and an interesting conversation about, you know, some an organization that maybe isn’t everyone’s favorite government organization.

So what is your title and what do you actually do with the IRS?

Kristen Deazeley: So I am a management and program analyst. I work with the tax Outreach Partnership and Education team at IRS. So what we do is provide outreach and education to that, what we call the non tax communities. So that would be anyone outside of the tax professional community, you know, the CPAs, enrolled agents, attorneys as we work, we work with a variety of organizations to share our resources, provide outreach and education on a variety of tax topics and subjects.

We do that through a lot of different ways. We provide. We might provide a drop in article, We might provide social media. You know, you and I met at a face to face event. So we go out and do, you know, face to face events with our partners. We also host our own events. And all of this is in an effort to again raise awareness about important tax topics and really enhance the interactions that you know, that people have with the IRS and at tax time.

David Martin: Okay. So let’s talk about that a little bit. What’s the first question? Everybody wants to know when they approach you or your staff or your team.

Kristen Deazeley: They they want it. You know, it’s interesting. They want to know if I if I really work for the IRS. And I think that’s interesting because they they’re taking it. Would you.

David Martin: Make that.

Kristen Deazeley: Up? Yeah, it’s really interesting. This has happened at several recent events where people are like, are you really from the IRS? And I thought, who do they think we’re putting out here? We are. We are the IRS. We explain what we do. So I think maybe they don’t associate that with a real person, but we are real people answering questions out there at our events and and certainly doing what we can do to help, you know, really help people find answers to resolve their tax issues or their tax questions.

So that is it’s that’s really one of the first questions is, you know. Are you are you really for real? Are you for real? Are you for real?

David Martin: Okay. So I guess the IRS is probably everyone’s least favorite government agency. Is that fair?

Kristen Deazeley: I don’t know.

David Martin: Okay. You know.

Kristen Deazeley: I guess I don’t think of it that way.

David Martin: Is there a federal agency that you really can’t stand? Does Is it your own? I’ll take your vote out there. Okay. You’re okay with land management? No issues with the Department of Commerce Coast Guard that you find no problems there. Okay, good.

Kristen Deazeley: Nope, nope, nope.

David Martin: What if people when people come up to you, what do they want to do other than you know, Are you for real? What do they want to know? What are they? What are they asking?

Kristen Deazeley: It really it really depends on where we are at any given time. Sometimes we’re interfacing with small business owners. Sometimes we are. They’re individual taxpayers that don’t operate a small business. So, you know, maybe they have questions about, you know, why they had a balance due for that year or, you know, they they had a large refund or whatever.

I think really they you know, it’s going to really depend on what audience were were in touch with that day and that sort of thing. When you are at an outreach and education event, you never know what people are going to ask. So, you know, you really have to be you’re you’re prepared to really address everything. You know, we’re always ready to you know, we’re always ready to research and provide what we can at the event.

And and if we can answer it, then we, you know, make every effort to to follow up and get it answered and and elevate feedback. You know, we do ask for feedback at our events. And we want to with that feedback. Of course, the the goal is to improve our service to our our taxpayers, our partners that we work with.

David Martin: You mentioned that we met at an in-person event. It was the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.. You had a booth. You were set up over there in the corner. I’m just curious at that event who who talked to you and what were they talking about? Do you recall?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, again, it’s there are there’s just a variety of topics. I think one of the things that came up is the interest in, you know, some leaders, some local leaders from the communities that we were that we were speaking with, they wanted to do some local outreach in their communities relating to tax topics. They really felt like we could raise awareness about refundable credits and and, you know, topics like the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, even some tax security issues, you know, educating taxpayers about tax scams and things like that.

You know, we were talking about the identity protection pin, which is something that can really help a taxpayer guard against identity theft. So that’s those are things that we were talking about. So really, you know, there was a there was interest in doing some local outreach. And my job is to connect them with one of our other functions that at the service that can actually perform, you know, more local outreach at that level.

And so that was a big part of it. And that was a great outcome to, you know, to have that interest. We were also providing them with some resources to help spread the word in their communities about these things that we’re talking about. So, you know, we generally try to bring, you know, things to our event that are, you know, maybe their new initiatives.

Kristen Deazeley: You know, they’re new tax topics to the public. We try to, you know, provide them information in a format that’s easy to understand. You know, whether it it could be an EA poster with a QR code, you know, that links to more information. And sometimes, you know, a lot of our products now they’re they are they’re in a multilingual format, so they could get it in multiple languages, which is good depending on, you know, the community and the needs there.

David Martin: Are there folks like you throughout the country that are available to attend town halls, town meetings, seminars that can do okay that do that? Yes.

Kristen Deazeley: Yes. And really, you know that. So at that particular event, you know, my job is to really help you navigate who is that person? Because it may vary, obviously, depending on what area we’re talking about. So but I that’s one thing that I do regularly. If it’s not something that I can do that I’ll try to connect that that individual with, that, you know, with that person or that you know, that area at IRS.

David Martin: So the IRS is got a full staff of people that are standing by, ready to attend local events and explain tax code collections, how they work, how to fill out the forms, what 9 a.m. means as opposed to nine be you. That’s that’s that’s a mission.

Kristen Deazeley: Yes. Know, we I mean, we’re out there trying to educate taxpayers about their tax responsibilities. So, yes, that is something that I don’t know if if taxpayers have a lot of awareness about that until we’re out and then they ask the question, are you really you’re the IRS?

David Martin: Well, I certainly didn’t. When I saw you there, I was like, oh, my gosh, what a great idea to get the IRS on the show to talk about how they’re delivering good government. Do you feel like you’re delivering? Do you feel like this is good government at its finest?

Kristen Deazeley: Yeah, I do. I, I feel very strongly about it. I started out as a revenue agent, which is the examination function. And, you know, sitting across the table from a taxpayer and and seeing how I think how nervous they could be and uneasy they were, you know, coming into an examination and really helping to, you know, break that down and make them feel more confident and, you know, give them, you know, some education even in that process to feel better again about those interactions.

And at tax time and, you know, in these situations such as in examination. And that’s really what inspired me to want to come over to outreach and education, because I really I really think that, you know, in my experience, taxpayers wanted it. They wanted some additional knowledge. They they wanted to learn. And so I would share publications with them.

And and, you know, and they certainly they would be very open to learning more about, you know, particular expenses and deductions available to them and credits. But it was, you know, it really grew my my interest in the job really grew out of that experience. And I’ve really enjoyed it because I think people do want to be empowered with that information.

David Martin: So what happens when you’re when you’re at a party and you meet someone you’ve never met before and they say, what do you do? Do you say, I work at Treasury? Do you say work with the IRS? And what’s the reaction?

Kristen Deazeley: You know what? I well, I, I work in outreach and education, and so I explain that. So I’ll tell them. And oftentimes it’s that same you know, it’s that same response that they’re very surprised that, wow, I didn’t know that you know, I didn’t know that a function like that existed, you know? And so I think generally it’s well received.

Good. Very well.

David Martin: Received. My life is good.

Kristen Deazeley: And then a lot of times people will add and people will ask questions and share their stories.

David Martin: So, okay, good, good and bad. Good and bad. Yeah.

Kristen Deazeley: Then I will help them try to navigate through those, you know, through those questions.

David Martin: What’s your background? Were you were you We were accountant. Were you a tax preparer? Were you a police investigator? How did you get into this?

Kristen Deazeley: I actually do. I have I have an I have an education. My educational background is in both in accounting and communications. Okay. I also worked in social services at one time. So, yeah, I have a you know, I have a it’s a it’s it’s maybe a different background. I haven’t know it pretty extensive background before I got to the IRS.

David Martin: So you’re a member the IRS?

Kristen Deazeley: I think it’s 18 years.

David Martin: Okay.

Kristen Deazeley: No second.

David Martin: Quite some.

Kristen Deazeley: Time in my losing count.

David Martin: Yeah, I guess that’s a good segue, right? Is that time? Time flies or you have. Good, good, good day.

Kristen Deazeley: It does. You know the old adage, right?

David Martin: Yes. Well, I mean, when people come up to you, are they automatically angry? Because, you know, look, let’s you know, the IRS, the function of the IRS is to collect taxes. Nobody likes to give anybody give away their money. How do you overcome that? You know, initial you took my money.

Kristen Deazeley: Well, again, there are so many issues that that taxpayers will ask about. I really think that, you know, it comes down to being really a good listener. You know, if I if I can gauge, you know, what the the issue is, then I’ll explain to them, you know, I’m here to help you navigate, you know, the IRS and help you find, you know, some help.

I think most of the time when I can explain that and just I think really in this job, it involves being a great listener. Most people, they you know, they want they want someone to hear their they want someone to hear that that pain point, to listen to that pain point. And then, you know, we can work through resolving it.

But I really think listening skills, you know, in in this job, you know, at these events and of course, you know even in the office when you’re listening to someone over the phone, whatnot, and in a virtual meeting, it really you know, I think listening skills are so, so important.

David Martin: Well, the IRS tells you how to not pay more taxes.

Kristen Deazeley: The well, what I would say is, is that we you know, the IRS and that’s one of the things that I think I wanted to talk about is and mentioned. I figured it would probably come up is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. So the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a cornerstone document that highlights the ten fundamental rights of taxpayers.

One of those is the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax. So what that means is taxpayers have the right to pay only in the amount of tax due, including interest and penalties, and to have the IRS apply all payments properly. But again, no more than the correct amount of tax. And you know, so another way to address your question is from an outreach and education standpoint, we are out there trying to raise awareness about available credits and deductions.

That’s what we’re out there doing. So I think that, you know, from an outreach and education standpoint, that is that is our goal. We want we want taxpayers to be aware of those things. They may increase a family’s economic mobility. When we talk about things like the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit and so forth.

So that is something we are we actively do.

David Martin: I’m sure that the IRS won’t fill out your taxes for you, but could any citizen who wanted to contact their, you know, local IRS office or national IRS person and sit down with someone and go through their their taxes, go through their their payments, like how does this you know, how do I pay this? How do I pay that?

How do I structure my returns?

Kristen Deazeley: Well, there are I mean, there are definitely, you know, there’s a few there’s a few different topics there. You know, on the website, it’s easy to access. You will find access to free tax help, free tax preparation through VIDA. I think a lot of a lot of people are probably familiar with that with that program and free file, which is another option for free tax preparation.

But I would also say, you know, you mentioned it, so I wanted to, you know, I wanted to bring it up. Is that what’s happening? What has been happening recently, and I wanted to mention is that taxpayers to taxpayers that many IRS taxpayer assistance centers across the country have actually they’ve been open on one Saturday each month in February, March, as well as April.

And that will also be they will also be open in May. They will also be open on May 13th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and that’s to offer in-person help without an appointment. Normally, those taxpayer assistance centers are open weekdays by appointment. Okay. So that’s again, if someone has questions about a tax bill and IRS audit or they need help resolving a tax problem, they’ll receive assistance from IRS employees specializing in those services.

You know, if they’re those employees aren’t available, then the individual will receive a referral for additional help on these services. IRS text or Advocate service employees may be available also to help with some issues. I also because you’ve asked I also want to point out a couple of things about this is.

David Martin: This is.

Kristen Deazeley: Professional foreign language interpretation will be available in many languages through an over the phone translation service. So also important to note for deaf or hard of hearing individuals who need sign language interpreter service services IRS staff will be will schedule appointments for a later date. Alternatively, those individuals can also call t y d to 808 to 9 4059 to make an appointment.

David Martin: So what was that number again?

Kristen Deazeley: Again 808 to 9 4059 in that is for again you know that’s they can call t t y t t t d d sorry.

David Martin: That’s okay. So it sounds like there really is multiple ways for citizens to contact the IRS to get answers to questions.

Kristen Deazeley: Yes. I mean. Well, and one of one of the best ways is, you know, one of the easiest ways is to is to become familiar with IRS back up and use utilize IRS dot gov. So many questions could be answered. And it’s interesting because I was recently I’ve actually been at two events recently where, you know taxpayers they’d come up and to my table and and ask a question and I would show them where they could actually find that.

Because whether it be an example would be a virtual small business workshop that we have, you know, they wanted to take a deeper dive. Obviously, when you’re going across the table from somebody and there’s lots of noise around, we don’t have time for an extended discussion of a small business topic. Let’s say it’s something like estimated tax payments.

So I will I’ll share with the taxpayer that, hey, you know, we actually have a virtual small business workshop on the website. You can take a deeper dive into some topics. And so I’ll help them navigate there and explain that they can, you know, they can watch that at their leisure, They can stop and start lessons. And so I really find that, you know, I think people are often surprised.

So they’re you know, they’re on their mobile device following along right with me, just, you know, So that was it was interesting how well how much we were able to we were able to resolve on those mobile devices. I thought that was I thought that was really great. And they found it really easy. So, yeah, I think it worked really well.

So I wanted to mention that after.

David Martin: Our conversation with you, did people walk away thinking, Oh, I saved money, that was good? Or, you know, what’s the reaction?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, I think I really do think that again, I hope it all it all circles back to what I said in the beginning of our conversation is that that’s what I that’s what I hope they walk away with. In my earlier comments, I said, I want them to be empowered to feel better at tax time, to feel more confident at tax time, to, you know, and I ask myself, I would judge my success on have I raised awareness about a particular topic that could or a credit that could increase a family’s economic mobility that is that is important to me.

You know, teaching them about tax scams that are out there and how to safeguard their personal information and how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. Those things are so important to me. Did I, you know, did I make them you know, did I did I help them understand how we would communicate with the taxpayer and how we would not that way when they pick up that phone and they hear from a scammer, if that’s what it is or they get an email, they’re going to be able to better you know, to better identify.

Wait a minute, I know I talked to these people at IRS or I you know, I got this you know, I saw this drop in article and this is not the way the IRS communicates with taxpayers. So again, there’s got empowerment of I’ve got the knowledge. I know how IRS communicates. This is not it. They hang up the phone.

And obviously there are ways to report.

David Martin: You’re making the IRS sound like a very user friendly agency.

Kristen Deazeley: Well, I you know, I think that there are a lot of answers. You know, the topic I was just mentioning on our idea of how to report scams, depending on what type of scam it is, that information is available on the website. You know, that question comes up, you know, in times of disaster. That’s another thing, you know, that I wanted to mention is, you know, do they know that there is disaster related tax relief available in their area?

And really overall, it’s, you know, can I help them navigate, again, the IRS and help, you know, help them find their answers to their tax questions and and resolve tax issues?

David Martin: This sounds like very good government on behalf of on the part of the IRS. How do you combat the negative image of the IRS when you meet people? Do you have like a five minute gap between, you know, trying to get over that hump and let them know, you know, some of the positive stuff?

Kristen Deazeley: Again, it goes back to I think really it goes back to to listening. You know, people can come up with their feedback. You know, some people will come up and they might have a joke. A lot of people surprisingly will want to well, want to joke around like, I want to avoid you guys. Like, let me just, you know, or, you know, are you tracking me in some way?

You know, they you know, so they they start with a joke and then they might have a real concern or sometimes. Yeah, they’re, they might be a little bit stressed about, you know, a matter And again, really it’s, you know, offering that willingness to to try to help talk them through that. And the listening I think is really important, you know, and and you know, sometimes that will require, you know, obviously, you know, follow up communications with that person.

But know, just really I think listening skills are really the key and letting them know that, hey, this is this is what we do. This is my job to help you understand your tax responsibilities and yeah, so I think generally speaking, you know, I, I, I don’t have an I haven’t had an experience out there where someone has said that we that we haven’t been able to talk through something.

I think that’s that’s always been the case to.

David Martin: Your credit, I’m sure, because that to your credit, I’m sure. All right. Well, now it’s time, that time in the show where we go right to the questionnaires. So we have our good government questionnaire a little different because usually this is directed at elected leaders. But but we’re talking with you today. So from where you sit in the IRS, define good government overall.

What’s good.

Kristen Deazeley: Government? Again, you know, I I’m one function at IRS. I provide outreach, outreach and education. So from where I sit, you know, it’s it’s what we discussed earlier. It’s really, you know, empowering people to feel better at, you know, at tax time in my function. So from an outreach and education standpoint is can I make them feel less worried, you know, at tax time?

Can I make them feel more confident? Do they do they feel better prepared? Have I raised awareness about tax topics that, again, could improve their economic mobility, where they can find free tax help? You know, again, teaching them how to spot these these scams and, you know, and, you know, again, raise awareness about all of those different tax topics.

I think that to me and again, the economic mobility is is a part of that when we talk about the refundable credits. So really I think that’s a huge part of it for me is really from an outreach and education standpoint, again, is raising awareness about, you know, tax topics that impact them.

David Martin: You talked about this a few times, and I meant to pick up on this a couple of times. Scams. This must have like just the the the tax scams and the money scams must have just quadrupled over the last several years. How does the IRS keep up?

Kristen Deazeley: Well, you know, I’m not I’m not really in I’m not really in charge of you know, I’m not Yeah, yeah, I’m not part of the enforcement efforts.

David Martin: They’re obviously the complaints and the questions about that must be must have multiplied.

Kristen Deazeley: Well, one of the things so from an outreach and educate from an outreach and education standpoint, when we talk about scams, I find that when we go out and we talk to taxpayers, people will want to share with me what’s happened to them. And so people want to talk about that. So one of the one of the ways from our perspective is I encourage them to report those scams and we talk about the different ways to do that.

And so that’s really again, the recognition of the scam is important. But also, you know, taxpayers can be empowered to report those scams. So that is a way that, you know, when we talk about how to how to combat those, that is a question that comes up is, you know, what do I do with this?

David Martin: This is funny enough yesterday since we’re talking here year with the IRS, yesterday I got an email thanking me for my $600 payment. And it was from a somewhat reputable, you know, payment agency. And it had a name and it had a date and it had a check number. And I looked at this and I’m like, What is this?

So I sent it to my wife and I said, This is nothing you did or anything like that. And she’s like, No, it’s a scam. What do I do with that?

Kristen Deazeley: So what I would you know what I would recommend? Because again, what’s what’s different? There are different types of scams. So you might have gotten a phone call. I think that that’s touched you. That’s touched some people. So what would you what you would want to do is and I’ve shared this many a time, is you could go to our report phishing and online scams page on IRS gov and it will explain the different types of scams.

What to do if you receive a suspicious IRS related email. What to do if you receive a suspicious IRS related telephone call? How do I verify contact from the IRS? It is such a great it is such a great page. And you know, to help again, try to navigate, you know, what kind of what was I touched by and how do I report it.

You know, there’s there’s a video on there as well, a short video. So that’s what that would be my recommendation for that. It really you know, it’s going to be different depending on obviously what kind of scam we’re talking about.

David Martin: All right. So back to the question. Thank you for that person.

Kristen Deazeley: So you’re going to go out there and look at that page, right? Yes, I.

David Martin: Will. Yes, I will, because I know what the IRS said you did. Listen. So how do you judge your success by what you do?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, really, I I think as I’ve explained, you know, in this function, I’m really out there kind of on the front lines at events right face to face. And so I ask for and I hear the candid feedback that, you know, that we’ve talked about. It could be positive and it could be negative. Most people, again, I think, are very surprised at first, as we’ve talked about, to see us in person at events or, you know, it doesn’t have to be in person.

It could be at a virtual event as well. But generally, I would say they’re very appreciative of our presence and our willingness to help and listen. So I would really evaluate again, my success on asking them, you know, and that’s a big part of it. You know, I think a part of a part of communications is, you know, of of interpersonal communication is really asking for that feedback and clarifying, did I did I help answer your question?

And a lot of times I’ll ask them, do you know more than you knew when you approached the table? How do you feel about it? You know, did they you know, do they feel less stressed or are less overwhelmed by taxes? I mean, I’ll ask those questions and see what they say, because I know obviously, I don’t want someone to walk away feeling confused.

I want I want them to feel better. I want them to. Four things to be clear. And so I will ask I will ask for that feedback. And so that’s really that is a big part of how I judge my successes. I’ll ask them, how do you feel? Did I answer your question? Do you know where to go to resolve this issue?

Will you reach out to me if if you don’t resolve it on your own? Those are, you know, and then I’ll I’ll help them through that. But that’s how I would judge my successes. You know, I’m going to ask, how do you feel about this? How do you feel about what I’ve told you and and follow up with me after if if you know, once you once you’ve tried to resolve this and and make sure that we you know, I can follow my my partner through that process.

I it’s funny, too, because at a recent event someone actually wrote in the comments it was a virtual event and someone had written not in the comments but in the chat someone had written. You actually made taxes sound fun. And so I thought, Wow, that wow. Yeah, that was really the ultimate endorsement. So, hey, there you go. Well, I’m not sure I did that for you.

David Martin: Did what? With one person? Do you get thank you notes?

Kristen Deazeley: Yeah. I mean, you hear like you get thank you notes that, you know, I think, again, it it could be a note. It be a thank you at a at an event for, you know, just taking time out to to talk to someone. Yeah. I definitely think that people appreciate that that we’re we are trying our best out there to to answer questions and and help them navigate the IRS.

David Martin: And the IRS is open to pretty much, you know, any citizen with a question or concern to reaching out to the IRS and you’re willing to sit down and talk with them.

Kristen Deazeley: There are different.

David Martin: Level on some level.

Kristen Deazeley: Yeah. I mean, there are you know, there are different ways to get help. I mean, there are there are all kinds of different ways to get help. And as a matter of fact, if you go I think if I look here, one of the things that you’ll find I’m actually looking at IRS dot gov right now. I want to do I wanted to take a look at this.

You know, you can click on help at the top of the landing page and there’s a let us help you page and it’ll talk about how to access help. You know so I think that a lot of questions can be answered there. You know, a function like mine, when we work with our external stakeholders, our partners, we will we’ll help navigate as well, you know, through the agency.

And again, a lot of these questions that we’re talking about, they can be you know, these questions can be answered here.

David Martin: Okay. Yeah, I’m as you were talking, I pulled up my IRS page and the first you know, the the biggest typeface says, how can we help you? So I guess you’re trying what’s the thing you’d like? What’s the most important thing you’d like people to know about the IRS?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, again, I’m going to take it from my perspective because I don’t know if a lot of people you know, I don’t know that a lot of people know that we really are out there to, again, try to help people meet and understand their tax responsibilities. I think that’s that’s really important. So I think from an outreach and education standpoint, you know, that, you know, I would love for people to know that that that we do exist and we’re happy to partner with organizations, you know, to help get that information out.

That’s a that’s a huge part of what we do is working with our partners to raise awareness. You know they have various ways, they have events, they have virtual meetings that they do. They have, you know, they might provide and they might produce an article in their newsletter. They might help us get publications out to taxpayers about, you know, a particular topic.

But, you know, really knowing that, you know, we we are out there, you know, trying to raise awareness about, you know, tax topics and help them feel more confident about, you know, their you know, about their interactions with with the IRS and at tax time.

David Martin: So not many people I would imagine this world grow up to say I want to be an IRS agent when I’m when I’m an adult. I want to I want to go to work for the IRS. What inspired you to first get into public service and what inspired you to join the IRS?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, I.

David Martin: Oh, were you there were a million kid who said, I want to be an IRS agent?

Kristen Deazeley: No. You know, I really I love the you know, I love the outreach and education piece. You know, I’ve mentioned obviously, we’ve talked all about that here today because that’s where I work it, you know, that’s what I work. That’s where I work at IRS. But I’ve also, you know, worked in outreach and education previously. And and I really I really enjoy that type of work.

You know, I think that, you know, I really feel strongly about that. If I can empower people with information that they didn’t have before and feel better about, you know, an outcome or resolve an issue, that to me is that, you know, that makes me feel good about the work that I’m doing. I enjoy that type of work, you know.

David Martin: So how did you find the IRS?

Kristen Deazeley: Well, remember that I was in I remember I told you I had an accounting background. So I did I did begin in another function. So, yes, an examination.

David Martin: So I walked right out of school was is you start working for the IRS right out of college pretty much. Or did you do other things?

Kristen Deazeley: No, No.

David Martin: Well, okay. No. How did you.

Kristen Deazeley: Say thank you for taking that? I’m that young, but I’m not that young. So they do.

David Martin: Who is? Well, what inspired you to join the IRS?

Kristen Deazeley: I just. I really.

David Martin: I think you were. Did you think, Oh, that’d be cool. Or did you just see an ad in the paper? How did it come about?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, I think I you know, I honestly, I don’t I don’t know if I can think back that far, but that’s how I feel today. I think that’s what if I remember, that’s what you know, that’s what really drew me. You know, remember that for me, as I mentioned at the beginning, I don’t expect you to remember, but I have a communications background and I have an accounting background.

So it’s great because when you think about it, I’m able to use you know, I’m able to utilize both of those both of those backgrounds because I’m a big part of this job is communicating whether I’m doing a presentation. You know, that certainly that certainly is enhanced by my communications background. But yet I’m talking about, you know, we’re talking about tax topics.

So really it’s the ability to be able you know, it’s the ability to be able to do that. I’m able to communicate with people, you know, provide outreach and education in this job.

David Martin: And area where it’s you know, communication is not always what the first idea people have. Do you come from a family of folks who worked in public service, who worked in government?

Kristen Deazeley: No, no, no, not at all.

David Martin: There’s only one.

Kristen Deazeley: I think so. I think I am. Yeah.

David Martin: Okay. Just, you know, it’s it’s a it is certainly a you know, look, I think most people wind up in a job and you sort of look back and go, How did I get here? But working for the IRS certainly would be something that no one would probably see in their future immediately. So this is a question we ask of all politicians because it gives them a little chance to talk about their neighborhood.

What is your favorite dish of your in your neighborhood? If I was coming out, we were going to have dinner and talk taxes. Where would you take me?

Kristen Deazeley: Oh, well, that’s easy. You you might not even like this answer, but.

David Martin: I’m sure.

Kristen Deazeley: It was depending on your depending on your love of animals. Because honestly, what drives my my choices around here is where I can take my my dogs. You know, one thing that one.

David Martin: Thing in order to be outside, we’re going to be outside. Okay.

Kristen Deazeley: Yeah. So one thing that happened, obviously, when we talk about, you know, the COVID 19, you know, the pandemic is that we saw an increase in the the dining out options of dining outside. And so I think that that has really worked to my advantage because I have two very large dogs and one little one. And so it’s really the answer to your question is wherever I can take those animals to dine out now, they would easily tell you their their preference of meals.

They definitely have they definitely have a preference. But really that that’s what drives it. And it’s it’s actually rather stressful to have animals dining with you all the time, I’m sure.

David Martin: Well, you’re in Southern California. We go for seafood. Where where’s where’s your where’s your where’s your where’s your place? Where’s your go to spot?

Kristen Deazeley: You know, it’s interesting. I don’t think it’s I don’t think it’s seafood primarily because, you know, it’s it’s interesting. I think there are you know, there are a couple different restaurants. They vary. You know, what’s what’s great for us is that, you know, there’s a really great Mexican restaurant here that will.

David Martin: I was going to call that.

Kristen Deazeley: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And you know, you know, and it could be, you know, more American fare. But it’s really great I mean that there that they’re willing to take us. So it is it’s it’s that really is truly the answer to the question the dogs are really driving our choice. Right.

David Martin: So driving your dog a very good All right. So we’re going to wrap it up with on a on a on a on a good government note. Give me your favorite example of good government provided by the IRS.

Kristen Deazeley: Um, well, I’m going to give you a I’m going to get him an example of one thing that we’re currently trying to do, and that is back in the fall, IRS attempted to contact more than 9 million individuals and families by letter about unclaimed credit. So what our outreach and education to our outreach team is doing right now, as well as others at IRS, we’re continuing to work with our partners to get the word out that for low and no income eligible individuals and families that that normally don’t file tax returns, that it’s not too late to claim pandemic related tax benefits that they might not have previously received or claim through a tax return.

And that would be the, you know, things such as that 2021 enhanced child tax credit and the 2020 and 2021 recovery rebate credits for those who are eligible and didn’t receive the full 2020 or 2021 economic impact payments. So, you know, we’re out there trying to ways to raise that awareness. And that’s really again, that’s because I think it’s important to point out, just put some context around that bed and eligible family of two adults and two young children could receive up to $18,600 in combined refundable credits for 2020 and 2021.

Again, that’s a lot of money sitting on the table. So we’re continuing to look for opportunities to get the word out to those individuals. So again, the one thing I think I mentioned, Vital earlier, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program can assist those low income and no income taxpayers with free tax preparation and filing to claim these refunds.

So that’s one thing that I definitely I wanted to mention.

David Martin: Well, thank you. Did we get through all the things on your list that you wanted to bring out? Yes, because I because I. Good I wanted I want to make sure I know it. It was a very enlightening conversation. And it’s it sounds like, you know, certainly you but the IRS is is really trying to do the outreach to people to let them know exactly where things stand.

David Martin: And that’s that’s good government doing a good job for the citizens. So thanks for that.

Kristen Deazeley: Thank you. Appreciate it.

David Martin: Diego, you got there. You got you got a thank you note for the good government show. How’s that?

Kristen Deazeley: Yeah.

David Martin: Yeah. All right.

Kristen Deazeley: Thank you.

David Martin: Kristen Deazeley, thank you for your address. Thank you for the conversation. Thanks for coming on the show and thank you for your insights. Hopefully some people listened to the show and went, oh, they’re not all bad.

Kristen Deazeley: Thank you. I appreciate that.

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There you go. Good. Government provided by the Internal Revenue Service. The best place to start getting the IRS working for you is on their website. That’s IRS dot gov, IRS dot gov. That was a really interesting conversation with Christine Vesely of the IRS and she had some good insight and good tips about how the IRS really tries to provide good government.

And there’s more good news on the way as part of the inflation reduction Act, the IRS is getting an $80 billion cash infusion. Part of that will go to making the collection of taxes more fair and to move the IRS to a more digital system. The money is going to be part of a ten year complete revamp of the IRS.

So let’s hope we see even more good government from the IRS. Anyway, that’s my conversation with the IRS. Join us again right here where you get your podcast for another conversation with someone in government. We’ll talk about how government works for all of us. Thanks for listening. I’m Dave Martin.

The Good Government Show and a conversation with is produced by Valley Park Productions, Jim Ludlow, David Martin and David Snyder are the executive producers. Our editor and producer is Jason Stershic. This is a good government show. Thanks for listening to.


**This transcription was created using digital tools and has not been edited by a live person. We apologize for any discrepancies or errors.