When the government and private sector work together to solve problems, they have the ability to change lives.
Think of the emergency alerts that you get during severe weather or if a child goes missing in your area. Government agencies broadcast the alerts, but it’s the partnership with the mobile carriers that puts the information on your screen. The end result is that the public wins by industry and government coming together and leveraging their respective experience and expertise.
The truth is that joint partnerships using the resources and capabilities of the government and the innovation of the private sector can create programs that far surpass the efforts of either side on their own. The American people are best served when industry and government come together in joint, voluntary programs to advance the public good. As we look across the policy landscape, we need to look for even more areas where government bodies and members of the private sector across industries can collaborate.
Intuit has seen the power of public-private partnerships to tackle major problems firsthand. Recent events in the tax system have shown that the government, as well as the private sector, can be targeted by cyber-attacks. The IRS has worked to address this issue by holding a Security Summit that began this spring to bring together government officials from the IRS and state Departments of Revenue, as well as tax industry leaders, to discuss solutions to combat identity theft and fraud. Intuit has been an active part of this IRS Summit group alongside government and industry colleagues.
This past week, the IRS announced the first results from this cross-sector Security Summit — a three-part strategic framework that will guide both short- and long-term efforts to combat ID theft tax fraud. The framework includes combined public-private approaches to taxpayer authentication – a critical component of ensuring taxpayer security, direction and guidance to industry about reporting leads to the IRS and states that will help government identify potential fraud, and long-term efforts to share information and develop policies to meet the ever evolving fraud threat.
What makes this public announcement extraordinary is, as the IRS has described, the unprecedented collaboration among the state agencies, the IRS and the industry, which have combined forces to fight fraud.
This type of government-industry partnership is not entirely new. In fact, our company and others have, for more than 15 years, partnered with the IRS and many state Departments of Revenue to deliver millions of tax returns at no cost to middle-and-low-income citizens through the Free File program.
When the public and private sectors work together to tackle big problems, it benefits society as a whole. Public-private partnership works. It represents a model of collaboration that can and should be used to tackle more of our shared public interest objectives, leveraging the synergies of the public and private sectors in service to common national purpose.