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Plain Writing

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Act) requires federal agencies to write “clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.”  President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing “a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration” in his January 21, 2009 memorandum to the heads of Executive Branch departments and agencies on Transparency and Open Government.  Additionally, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum to the heads of Executive departments and agencies in April 2011 providing Final Guidance on Implementing the Plain Writing Act of 2010.

The Department of the Treasury is committed to writing new documents in plain language using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines.

The senior official responsible for overseeing Treasury’s implementation of the Plain Writing Act is Executive Secretary David Clunie.  The alternate coordinator responsible for implementation of the Act is Deputy Executive Secretary David Pearl. 

As part of our effort to implement the Act, we are training Treasury employees to use plain language in any document that:

·      is necessary for obtaining a federal government benefit or service or filing taxes;

·      provides information about a federal government benefit or service; or

·      explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or addresses.

The best writing tells a reader exactly what she needs to know without using unnecessary or ambiguous language.  The federal government should write in a style that makes information accessible to all the people it serves.  Clear communication can save time and money and enhance public response to government programs.  Treasury endeavors to write clearly to help all people understand the work Treasury does and the services we provide.  

Much of the work  Treasury performs focuses on subject matter that can involve complex, technical language.  Treasury is devoted, however, to publishing documents and other information that are written clearly without sacrificing the quality and accuracy of the information we are conveying.  To meet this goal, we compiled our Plain Writing Act Implementation Plan .  Visitors to this website can track our progress in our 2014 Compliance Report, which marks the significant progress we have made relative to our 2013 Compliance Report​.  We intend to continue to build on the progress we have made in the past year by continuing to devise creative ways to implement the principles of the Act into Treasury’s writing.   

We want your feedback

While our plain writing effort is well underway, we are always looking to improve.  We need your help not only to comply with the Act, but improve the efficiency of our interactions with the public.  As we continue to implement our plan, please feel free to submit comments to and let us know what we’re doing well, and most importantly, what we could be doing better.

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Additional Resources

Center for Plain Language


OPM Plain Writing

National Institutes of Health

FAA Plain Writing Course

Plain Writing at IRS

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Last Updated: 9/30/2014 11:39 AM

Contact Us

Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220

General Information: (202) 622-2000
Fax: (202) 622-6415
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm

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