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Plain writing

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 promotes “clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.”

Under the Act, we must make best efforts to use plain language in any document that:

  • is necessary for obtaining any federal government benefit or service or filing taxes;
  • provides information about any federal government benefit or service; or
  • explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces.

The Act does not apply to formal regulations published in the Federal Register. You can find more information on the Plain Writing Act and plain language in the federal government from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN).

We published our first annual plain language compliance report on April 13, 2012. The 2013 annual plain language compliance report was published on July 22, 2013. If you have comments or feedback for us on our plain language efforts, let us know by emailing

We are committed to communicating clearly and usefully to the public. Many of the pages on our website allow you to offer comments. See something that isn’t written in plain language? You can leave a comment or email us.