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Bored? You can watch the IRS on YouTube

Agency produces informational videos to explain tax issues to public.

By Teresa Mears Jan 22, 2010 12:48PM

This news story comes from Carole Feldman at partner The Associated Press:


WASHINGTON (AP) - Amid all the music videos and celebrity news, the cute animal shots and comedy routines on YouTube, you'll find some helpful tax tips from the Internal Revenue Service.


The IRS channel on YouTube features dozens of videos informing people about new credits and deductions and other changes in the tax law.


Launching the YouTube channel was "a natural choice" for the IRS, said Terry Lemons, the agency's senior spokesman. "Our approach is to use multiple avenues to get information out to people."


There are currently 70 to 75 videos.

"Here's a tip from the IRS," the videos begin. They cover such issues as the new homebuyer tax credit, the sales and excise tax deduction for new car purchases and use of the withholding calculator to make sure you're not having too much tax withheld as part of the making work pay credit.


The videos feature IRS employees. There are versions in English, Spanish and American Sign Language. Most run about a minute or a minute and a half, although there are some longer how-to videos on topics such as how to track a refund. All refer people to the IRS Web site.

Since the channel launched in August, the IRS videos have been viewed about 230,000 times, including 30,000 in the last week. "These are not going to compete with the dancing babies out there," Lemons quipped.


Some viewers are accessing the YouTube videos through the IRS Web site or through the agency's outreach efforts, Lemons said. Others are getting to them through links on third-party sites. While most people don't go to YouTube to access a government video, Lemons said the metrics show that people from across the country are clicking on the IRS channel.


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