This course provides a concise overview of how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses behavioral insights (BI). This is the cross-discipline, open-minded science of understanding how people behave and why they act as they do. BI is increasingly being used by organizations worldwide to better understand the behaviors of their customers and citizens in order to guide and nudge them towards desired actions, or to improve their experience. You’ll walk away knowing how the IRS is using BI to drive compliance, positively impact taxpayer engagement, and reduce taxpayer burden.

In this course, you learn about:

  • Behavioral Insights (BI) Fundamentals
  • Edward Bernays: The Father of BI
  • How BI is used in social media and the consumer economy
  • The power of nudging
  • How BI is being used in tax administrations around the world
  • BI tax experiments at the IRS
  • Leading BI proposals for the IRS
  • How to apply BI principles in your accounting operations

Who Will Benefit:
Practitioners who want to better understand how BI is best tested and used within the IRS to improve the taxpayer experience, and how BI can also be applied by practitioners in their own operations and workflow to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.

Learning Objectives
  • Identify at least six ways BI is being used to nudge citizens, consumers and taxpayers towards desired actions and improve their experience.
  • Discover and summarize at least 4 reasons why people are not always rational, and why their decisions are often driven by emotions, not careful economic analysis.
  • Explore and point out at least 7 competing visions within the IRS on how BI should be used (or not) to increase compliance.
  • Identify and list at least 8 BI strategies that can be used to influence taxpayer behavior and improve persuasion.
  • Recognize and restate at least 10 ways BI can be used in the wording and graphic design and layout of tax forms to deter non-compliance.
Last updated/reviewed: December 19, 2023
Course Complexity: Foundational
Participants should have a basic understanding of Internet technology, online navigation, and digital productivity services.
Education Provider Information
Company: Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact: For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Instructor for this course
Course Syllabus
  Course Agenda9:12
  What are Behavioral Insights17:00
  Bad BI Vs Good BI11:30
  BI and Tax Administration9:44
  The Power of Nudging12:34
  BI Case Studies10:36
  BI Tax Experiments at IRS14:06
  Leading BI Proposals for the IRS and Other Tax authorities17:26
  A Real Life BI and Simple Ways to Apply BI8:52
  How to get Involved with BI and Tax Administration4:26
  Key Takeaways3:20
  IRS Behavioral Insights for Accountants1:58:46
  Slides: IRS Behavioral Insights for AccountantsPDF
  IRS Behavioral Insights for Accountants GlossaryPDF