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Department of Commerce PLAIN Language

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The Plain Writing Act of 2010 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 on Transparency and Open Government.

The Department of Commerce is committed to writing new documents in plain language by October 2011, using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines.

We have assigned staff to oversee our plain language efforts:

We’re training our employees and have created our oversight process. We must 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.

Please let us know if we haven't written a document in plain language: PlainLanguage[at]doc[dot]gov.

We reported on our progress and compliance with the Act by July 13, 2011. As required by the Act, we will post an annual report about our compliance with the requirements.  The most recent compliance report was published in May 2014.