User-Friendly Government FormsApril 14, 2008 - by Donny Shaw
By the time April 15th comes around next year, deciphering government documents and filling out tax forms might become a much easier task. The House today is slated to vote on (and probably approve) the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007, which would require the federal Government to write all forms, letters and notices that explain how to do your taxes or apply for government benefits or services in plain, understandable English.
If the bill becomes law – a companion measure is currently progressing in the Senate – the government will be required by law to communicate with citizens in a way that is actually helpful (kinda hard to imagine, I know).
For more on this bill, see this piece from the Washington Post, this press release from the bill’s sponsor including some examples of best practice, all the resources on the PlainLanguage.gov website, and, of course, the aggregated news and blog coverage of the bill from OpenCongress.