IRS Unveils Voice and Chat Bots to Assist Taxpayers
The IRS has announced that it has begun using voice and chat bots on two of its specialized toll-free telephone assistance lines and IRS.gov. These features will assist taxpayers with simple payment or collection notice questions quickly and avoid waiting. Taxpayers can still speak with an IRS telephone representative if needed. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated that this step is a part of a larger effort to help taxpayers get the assistance they need this tax season. In recent weeks, the IRS has deployed voice and chat bots in English and Spanish for phone lines that assist taxpayers with tax payment issues or understanding an IRS notice. Taxpayers with general tax season questions will generally not encounter these features at this time. The bots are now available to help taxpayers with:
- How to make One-Time Payments
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Collection Notice Clarification
The IRS informed taxpayers that voice bots are software powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that allow a caller to navigate an interactive voice response (IVR) system with their voice. Chat bots simulate human conversation through web-based text interaction, also using AI-powered software to respond to natural language prompts. Taxpayers who request to speak with a customer service representative will be placed in a queue for English or Spanish ACS telephone assistance. The IRS voice and chat bots currently cannot provide assistance with a taxpayer’s protected account information. Later in 2022, IRS voice bots will enable taxpayers to authenticate their identity to establish payment plans, request a transcript and obtain information about their accounts. The IRS plans to roll out more voice and chat bots later in 2022 to assist taxpayers with more complex issues.
Further, freeing up IRS phone assistors for taxpayers with complex collection issues who need to speak with someone is a major benefit of voice and chat bots. Additionally, voice bots also helped taxpayers calling the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) toll-free line, providing general procedural responses to frequently asked questions. The IRS also added voice bots for the Advanced Child Tax Credit toll-free line this month to provide similar assistance to callers who need help reconciling the credits on their 2021 tax return.