If you’ve tried to call the IRS, you know that “fast service” is not what you are likely to experience. News articles and feeds are full of nightmare anecdotes of being on hold with the IRS, often being cut off before getting through to a real person. Even the Taxpayer Advocate doesn’t have much good to say about IRS phone response rates. They recently reported that only one out of ten calls make it to an agent.
The IRS is under pressure from you and the Taxpayer Advocate to do something about these abysmal response rates. Increased staffing isn’t a viable option, given the tight U.S. labor market and the average age of IRS employees – forty-five percent of IRS workers are within a few years of retirement. So, they are expanding the use of technology, including voice bot options.
The IRS started using voice bots on many of its toll-free lines in January, enabling taxpayers with simple payment or notice questions to get what they need quickly and avoid waiting. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced expanded voice bot options to help eligible taxpayers easily set up or modify a payment plan while avoiding a long wait on hold.
Voice bots run on software powered by artificial intelligence, which enables a caller to navigate an interactive voice response. Eligible taxpayers who call the Automated Collection System (ACS) and Accounts Management toll-free lines can authenticate or verify their identities through a personal identification number (PIN) creation process. Setting up a PIN is easy using your most recent IRS bill and some basic personal information to complete the process.
Additional voice bot service enhancements will be offered in 2022 to allow authenticated taxpayers with established or newly created PINs to get account and return transcripts, payment histories, and current balances owed. Voice bots can help people who call the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) toll-free line with answers 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.
Want answers from the IRS with less wait time? Check out more details about your eligibility for IRS expanded voice bot options to avoid long wait times on hold. Live IRS agents are terrifically helpful and nice, but there are fewer of them to serve taxpayers. That makes a voice bot sound like a great option.