MERRILLVILLE — Few Hoosiers particularly enjoy paying their taxes. But the process of doing so is on the verge of becoming far more efficient.
The Indiana Department of Revenue is weeks away from launching the first phase of "Project NextDOR," a $60 million technology systems upgrade aimed at improving the agency's ability to collect, record and distribute some $22 billion a year in tax payments from its 3.5 million "customers."
Adam Krupp, the state's revenue commissioner, told some two dozen Region tax practitioners Thursday at the Lake County Public Library in Merrillville that the corporate segment of the new Indiana Tax System (ITS) and the Indiana Taxpayer Information Management Engine (INTime) are slated to go live on Labor Day, Sept. 2.
Once that happens, corporate taxpayers will be able to file, amend and pay all their tax returns electronically, view past payments and returns online, and send secure electronic messages to revenue officials concerning state tax matters.
Tax preparers holding the required powers of attorney also will be able to view online that same tax information for all of their corporate clients on a single webpage.
"We think it is going to change the game," Krupp said. "Instead of having a bunch of standalone systems that have to communicate, we'll have a fully integrated system."
The new system is due to continue adding functionality each Labor Day through 2022. Next year, sales tax remittances and income tax withholding will go live, followed by individual income tax filing and records in 2021, and then full electronic access for the remainder of Indiana's 65 different tax types.
"It is unbelievably complex work," Krupp said. "And I know that the Department of Revenue is not always everybody's favorite government agency. But we do things behind the scenes that people should be proud of because we are proud, and we are helping everyone."
Helping Hoosiers comply with their tax obligations, instead of perhaps bullying them, is a top priority for Krupp, who grew up southeast of LaPorte in the city of Plymouth and became revenue commissioner in 2017 following stints at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Family and Social Services Administration.
For example, the 700 DOR employees now refer to taxpayers as customers, due to Krupp's determination to change the agency's culture to a customer service mindset that never forgets there are real people behind every one of the millions of transactions it processes each year.
He's also established an advisory council made up of tax practitioners across the state to tell DOR what it's doing right and wrong, as well as a customer feedback portal on the DOR website to ensure Hoosiers having tax issues are put in touch with someone who can help.
"We are people trying to do good work in a very complex business," Krupp said. "We want to fix things."