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Ashley Kent joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2010 as a research analyst.  Ms. Kent combined her career passions of data science, research, and public service to become one of the most effective digital product managers in the IRS today.  Ms. Kent has been key to the successful design, delivery, and improvement with the Bureau of Fiscal Service and IRS’ service initiatives at the IRS. In 2014, she led efforts in partnership with the Bureau of Fiscal Service and IRS’ Wage & Investment division to successfully launch Direct Pay, enabling taxpayers to make online payments to the IRS for free from their bank account for the first time. In 2016, she used data analytics to identify the need for expanded retail payment options, leading to the launch of the PayNearMe retail payment channel.  Furthermore, she also played a critical role in the launch of IRS’ online account after several years of research, design, and development with partners across the IRS.


Ms. Kents accomplishments in improving the taxpayer experience have been extensive, and the benefits to both the IRS and the Nation cannot be overstated.  She was instrumental in the research, design, and improvement of the core features for online account - balance due, recent payments history, tax records access, and payment channel conversion enhancement.  As a result of the initial design and evolution, since its launch in November 2016, over 900,000 taxpayers have accessed their online account over 3 million times at all hours of the day and night, from the convenience of their homes, or even on the road.


Ms. Kents contributions on Direct Pay are even more impressive.  Since the launch in 2014 taxpayers have made over 27.8 million payments via Direct Pay, for over $96 billion collected in revenue.  In addition to the commonly accepted conveniences of the online channel, Ms. Kent has continued to work to add features and improve the usability of Direct Pay.  Some of the enhancements have included email notifications with confirmation numbers, and the ability to modify or cancel scheduled payments -- all at no additional cost to the taxpayer.  Prior to Direct Pay, taxpayers wishing to make payments needed to write a check and mail the payment in advance, make their payment over the telephone, pay via credit card with additional fees, or visit a taxpayer assistance center.


Ms. Kent is a vocal advocate for the use of data and customer feedback to improve the integration between products, especially where such effort simplifies tax administration for the customer.  For example, she led analytics and research into a lower than expected conversion rates, identifying language barriers in the online account and testing alternatives This led to a simple, three word language change that boosted traffic from online account to the IRS Online Payment Agreement application by over 100%.  While a team effort, credit for over 61,000 new installment agreements created by online account users was due to Ms. Kents tenacity and advocacy for better digital citizen service.








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