Serendipity leads IRS to YouTube success

How a camera crew’s downtime and a brainstorm led to a YouTube initiative that helped the IRS solve a big communication problem. Video

How a camera crew’s downtime and a brainstorm led to a YouTube initiative that helped the IRS solve a big communication problem

When you think “IRS,” you don’t think “YouTube.” And when faced with a massive communication challenge, the IRS communicators didn’t think YouTube at first either. But YouTube, as it is wont to do these days, came into play.

In late January with the U.S. economy flagging badly, House leaders and the White House announced an economic stimulus package that would provide “rebates,” as they commonly came to be called, of between $300 and $1,200 per American household.

To IRS chief of communications and liaison Jan Deneroff and Terry Lemons, director of communications, that meant they had a real problem.

Because Americans need to file a tax return to get their rebate, Deneroff, Lemons and national public liaison Candy Cromley needed to reach millions of American who don’t normally pay taxes—namely, social security recipients and retired veterans who don’t make enough money to pay taxes. Some of these people hadn’t filed returns for decades.

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