The IRS expands the use of voice bots to improve customer service
TThe US Internal Revenue Service has unveiled 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 three 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.