VOICE BOTS NOW IN USE BY IRS!
Darren John Guillot 1stDeputy Commissioner, Small Business/Self Employed Division, Collection & Operations Support (appeared in LinkedIn on June 17, 2022)
“IRS HISTORY MADE THIS WEEK!
At 6:45am on June 14, 2022, the "authenticated" version of IRS Collection [English and Spanish] Voice Bots went live! By noon that day, the first three installment plans were established by taxpayers - the first installment plans ever established by a bot. This is the first time in IRS' 160-year history that artificial intelligence enabled a taxpayer to resolve their case. No wait time on hold! From this moment forward, IRS will never be the same and the future holds promise. Yesterday alone, over 13,000 taxpayers had their calls answered by the new authenticated bots. Later this year, the bots will also acquire and send transcripts to taxpayers safely and securely. Concurrent with the new bots, our other bots (also in English and Spanish) are continuing to help taxpayers - and since January 2022 have already answered well over 3 million phone calls. These bots are freeing up our live assistors to speak with taxpayers that have more complex issues like establishing a hardship situation, or getting a levy released. A huge thank you to the amazing collaborative team within IRS - Collection Operations, SBSE Technology Solutions and the IRS Information Technology division and Online Services. This effort was originally slated for "2024," but our partners at IT ensured the project delivery was moved up 2 years, because they [too] know there's never been a more important time to better serve the public. Most importantly, Commissioner Chuck Rettig believed in this effort and ensured it was supported – asking us to “swing for the fences!” This week would not have happened without his active support and encouragement every step of the way. Fred Schindler and I held a press conference earlier today and you can learn more in IRS' news release and press coverage in the days ahead.”
Assistance For Eligible Taxpayers In Setting Up Or Modifying Payment Plans Now Available; More Functions Planned In 2022 To Help Taxpayers Obtain Account Information:
The Internal Revenue Service has announced expanded voice bot options to help eligible taxpayers easily verify their identity to set up or modify a payment plan while avoiding long wait times.
"This is part of a wider effort at the IRS to help improve the experience of taxpayers," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We continue to look for ways to better assist taxpayers, and that includes helping people avoid waiting on hold or having to make a second phone call to get what they need. The expanded voice bots are another example of how technology can help the IRS provide better service to taxpayers."
Voice bots run on software powered by artificial intelligence, which enables a caller to navigate an interactive voice response. The IRS has been using voice bots on numerous toll-free lines since January, enabling taxpayers with simple payment or notice questions to get what they need quickly and avoid waiting. Taxpayers can always speak with an English- or Spanish-speaking IRS telephone representative if needed.
Eligible taxpayers who call the Automated Collection System (ACS) and Accounts Management toll-free lines and want to discuss payment plan options can authenticate or verify their identities through a personal identification number (PIN) creation process. Setting up a PIN is easy: Taxpayers will need their most recent IRS bill and some basic personal information to complete the process.
"To date, the voice bots have answered over 3 million calls. As we add more functions for taxpayers to resolve their issues, I anticipate many more taxpayers getting the service they need quickly and easily," said Darren Guillot, IRS Deputy Commissioner of Small Business/Self Employed Collection & Operations Support.
Additional voice bot service enhancements are planned in 2022 that will allow authenticated individuals (taxpayers with established or newly created PINs) to get:
- Account and return transcripts.
- Payment history.
- Current balance owed.
In addition to the payment lines, voice bots help people who call the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) toll-free line with general procedural responses to frequently asked questions. The IRS also added voice bots for the Advance Child Tax Credit toll-free line in February to provide similar assistance to callers who need help reconciling the credits on their 2021 tax return.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers about numerous other available self-service options.