ADOR Streamlines Amid the Pandemic
The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) has continued providing information and support to Arizona taxpayers while protecting its customer's health and safety. Since March 2020, ADOR has enhanced and transferred services to online, videoconferences, phone calls, and virtual options.
Services did not cease when the pandemic hit Arizona.
- ADOR processed, uninterrupted, over 3.1 million individual income tax returns and delivered over 2 million refunds. Staff remained in the building to ensure ADOR met the taxpayers' needs and processed returns during both the peak filing period and extension period supporting over 6 million returns this season.
- Transitioned office lobbies to appointment-only services and established a drop-box at all three locations for payments, forms, applications, and returns without an appointment.
- Due to prompt Information Technology efforts, ADOR was able to deploy 90% of employees safely to carry on serving taxpayers through secure resources and enhanced tools within a month.
- Maintained call center operations by setting up a secure phone system for employees to work from home and manage customer calls. Shared Services and Collections call center developed a new ticketing system to gather combined call center root causes call data to best serve taxpayers while working remotely.
- Conducted audit interviews, informal protests, settlement conferences, and even audit examinations through telephone and videoconferencing.
- Audit delivered assistance and accommodates the taxpayer's preferred method of interaction and in a way that is most suitable for both parties, given their mutual goals. Importantly, ADOR kept audit staff at the buildings to assist taxpayers who prefer to visit and interact in person.
- Education and Outreach increased the availability of online workshops and tutorials, i.e., setting up AZTaxes, new user registration, understanding location codes, filing an electronic TPT return, and more. Since April, the team conducted 40 workshops, educated over 1,500 taxpayers, and continued to develop curriculum for new tax topics to meet taxpayer needs. By teaming up with cities and towns partners, ADOR is able to offer in-person workshops for 20 or less taxpayers per session.
- Compliance Programs sustained efforts to bring taxpayers into voluntary compliance through their license compliance and voluntary disclosure activities; the Specialty Tax team assisted taxpayers with use tax activities.
- Taxpayers are always offered the opportunity for a hearing. The Hearing Office offered phone and memo hearings where all parties are on a phone call remotely.
- Published a ruling and procedure to assist transaction privilege tax filers through the process to request COVID-19 related penalty abatement once the business comes into compliance.
- Property Tax Unit's in-person visits with county customers were virtual meetings or phone calls. The vast amount of education routinely given to county assessor staff in a traditional classroom is now online. While training is delivered virtually, staff deliver some Appraiser Training and Certification instruction from the office.
- Tobacco Audit and Compliance Unit handled the majority of requests through the Arizona Luxury Tax Online secure webmail. The Compliance staff handled other inquiries by addressing emails and monitoring messages received to the Luxury phone line multiple times a day to ensure timely responses.
- The Unclaimed Property team made every effort to assist customers remotely, via phone or email. However, if a customer still wanted an appointment time, meetings are scheduled on Mondays. Unclaimed Property staff developed a mass email solution to aid communications with customers faster and more efficiently. Unclaimed Property and Shared Services developed a streamlined process to return unclaimed tax refunds to taxpayers quickly.
Additionally, ADOR plans continue many of these efforts as well as expand taxpayer support services after the restrictions end:
- AZTaxes.gov for filing and payment of transaction privilege tax and withholding tax; and payment only for individual and corporate income tax;
- FAQs, forms, YouTube tutorials and other resources on AZDOR.gov;
- Live Chat for general questions and navigation guidance with ADOR staff on AZDOR.gov and AZTaxes.gov;
- Telephone Support, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday;
- Make appointments and send questions by sending an email to [email protected].
Other resources are available and can be found here.