IRS expands voice bot options for faster service

The Internal Revenue Service of the United States has increased its voice bot options to assist eligible taxpayers in swiftly verifying their identity in order to set up or alter a payment plan while avoiding excessive 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 are powered by artificial intelligence software that allows a caller to browse an interactive voice response. Since January, the IRS has begun deploying speech bots on many toll-free lines, allowing taxpayers with minor payment or notification questions to get answers quickly and avoid waiting. If necessary, taxpayers can always call an IRS phone representative who speaks English or Spanish.

Eligible taxpayers who call the Automated Collection System (ACS) or Accounts Management toll-free lines to discuss payment plan choices can authenticate or verify their identity by creating a personal identification number (PIN). Setting up a PIN is simple: all taxpayers need is their most recent IRS bill and some basic personal information.

“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 payment lines, voice bots provide general procedural solutions to frequently asked questions to consumers who call the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) toll-free line. In February, the IRS added speech bots to the Advance Child Tax Credit toll-free line to assist callers who need assistance reconciling the credits on their 2021 tax return.

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