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The Tax Agency simplifies the language of its most common documents to improve communication with the taxpayer

Removal of barriers to understanding

  • Eight models of communication to the taxpayer are modified, including an initial summary with the basic content in the longest documents
  • The language is clarified and a new design is offered that helps segment information and distinguish the most relevant
  • The modifications affect documentation requirements and personal income tax settlements, seizure procedures and Customs declarations for small online purchases that, together, represent more than 3.7 million documents per year.

November 2, 2023.- The Tax Agency has implemented the commitment established in the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan to advance the simplification of the language it uses in its relationship with taxpayers to eliminate barriers to understanding and thereby minimize the indirect administrative burdens of citizens, thus facilitating voluntary compliance.

To this end, the Agency has modified up to eight taxpayer communication and notification models used by different areas of the AEAT in its most common documents. These revisions, which will be implemented gradually in the coming months, reach more than 3.7 million documents per year.

The modifications affect the personal income tax documentation requirements, the liquidation proposals and provisional settlements of the same tax, seizure procedures for third-party debts (for credits and salaries and pensions) and Customs declarations for small value imports - mainly online purchases–, as well as the documents of representation and rights and guarantees of the taxpayer that accompany some of these documents.

A strategic objective

The Agency's Strategic Plan already established the commitment to advance in improving communications to taxpayers to facilitate the understanding of administrative language, so that the text of the most common documents is more understandable and simpler for their recipients.

This clarification of the language is given by the combination of several elements, from the shortening of the length of some letters, to the reduction of information overload and the differentiation of relevant information, through the redesign of the way in which they are shows the information to the citizen, and all this without losing the necessary correctness of the legal concepts used.

New content summary: what, why, how and where

Among the modifications carried out in the Agency's documents, all of them already defined and only pending computer implementation, the new summary of content stands out.

The first page of the revised communications and notifications now includes a new informative summary with the basic information of each document: what the citizen receives, why they receive it, what they should do after receiving it and where they can get help and resolve their doubts.

The new content summary follows the same philosophy of clear and direct language that is already being used in the new appointment application available on the Agency's website, with a synthetic question and answer scheme and a design that facilitates easier reading. agile on the part of the receiver.

Redesign for easier reading

The body of the documents and their annexes have also been revised, introducing a new design with graphic elements that highlight and differentiate the different sections, and a font size that makes reading easier. Likewise, the most complex writing elements have been revised in favor of conciseness and accessibility.

 In some documents this has led, in turn, to a reduction in overall content. As an example, the new credit seizure procedure now has 700 fewer characters and the faces with effective content go from eleven to six (specifically, the annex with the information to be transferred to the AEAT by the recipient of the letter is now from seven faces to just one).

Likewise, the annex to the proceedings for garnishing wages, salaries and pensions goes from three faces to two. And in both cases, the taxpayer's response sequence and the steps to follow are improved to respond to these procedures.

Personalized Assistance Plugin

In addition to all these improvements, it is planned that the recipient of the new documents will have the possibility of obtaining direct and personalized assistance from the Tax Agency in certain cases through a help system through the Comprehensive Digital Assistance Administrations, the ADIs. , and this in parallel to the constant development of virtual assistants and informants that make it easier for the taxpayer to comply with their obligations and exercise their rights through explanations in a more colloquial and familiar language.

With this ongoing project, the Tax Agency continues to advance in a strategy to facilitate tax compliance through a model in which each taxpayer's need is associated with assistance services from the Agency, so that it is the citizen who decides. how they want or need to be attended to, and also preserving in-person attention in the offices at all times as the fundamental axis of the information and assistance model.