IRS CARES Economic Impact Payment Call Center
James (Jim) Hannas’s leadership and program expertise enabled the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide phone service to citizens on the status of their economic impact payments (EIP) within seven days of the legislation being signed.
For the first time in IRS history, they outsourced part of their primary, toll-free tax line. Jim took on the mantle of providing collaborative and communicative leadership, quickly establishing, setting, and clarifying roles within the agency. He helped build and then lead the team that included technical and policy experts from multiple functions within the agency to ensure contract adherence, delivery agility, and most importantly, service to citizens desperately seeking legislated assistance from their country.
He instantly established an excellent rapport with the selected contractor Maximus Federal’s team and provided clear expectations despite a constantly changing environment. He recognized the importance of quick responses and flexibility in the face of necessary adjustments and changes to policy administration of the brand new stimulus legislation. Jim and the team, working with Maximus, established accountability mechanisms that included constant (hourly, daily, or weekly) technical contacts by the fed – private partnership members, in every aspect, from call through-put to training to user testing to quality review, to provide a few examples.
Jim led his IRS team to work diligently to expedite the clearance responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs), which are the core information provided to citizens. When the EIP line was first established, there were just 10 FAQ’s. Over a few months, he led the way to build that number up to more than 75. Each had to go through a plethora of internal agency checkpoints from legal counsel to policy and communication clarity. Utilizing the communication systems established with the contractor, Jim ensured his team provided the latest information to Maximus’ training and operations teams.
Jim’s strong leadership and decision-making in achieving the goal of rapidly serving citizens show significant effort from the IRS and its ability to respond and provide resources during the pandemic.