IRS rated as the fastest web site
The IRS gets top marks for the speed of their website in recently released benchmarks (see coverage here). The IRS website minimizes image use and makes large documents available as PDF downloads rather than publishing the information as web pages. The ranking of sites was released by performance monitoring service, Gomez, as part of their annual benchmarking of major website responsiveness (see the full report). The results are summarized in their chart below:
Another similar area we have seen the performance of tax agency websites benefit is by letting taxpayers fill out tax information offline and then submit it electronically when they are finished. Consider the scenario tax agencies must deal with. If you are like me, you tend to wait until that tax deadline gets closer. Then there is a bit of a scramble to fill-out the multi-page form and get it submitted. This means a tax agency that offers online tax filing using web pages gets a big spike in tax submissions and web activity when the deadline nears. The result is that their web site must be built to handle a once a year event.
To help deal with this issue, tax agencies like the South African Revenue Service, the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs, and the Polish Ministry of Finance (see our earlier blog post) have used Adobe Dynamic PDFs to offload some of the work from their web sites. Instead of filling out a web page to file taxes, a taxpayer downloads a tax form as an Adobe Dynamic PDF (see Wisconsin’s examples) and saves it to their computer. The smart form is completed offline on the taxpayer’s computer, reducing traffic on the tax agency’s web site. When the electronic form is complete, the taxpayer can press a button to submit the tax information over the Internet. This helps agencies reduce the load on their web systems by moving more of the form filling process offline, ultimately providing a more responsive web site without losing functionality.
Delivering intuitive and speedy online interactions is an important goal. With the bar continually being raised in both the private and public sector, it is certainly impressive to see the IRS being recognized as one of the most responsive web sites out there.