Most people around the world say they’d use artificial intelligence to file their tax return.

Tax filing mistakes are common, and bigger mistakes can land you in tax debt. Is removing the human from human error a solution? A global survey of taxpayers says yes.

Forty percent made a mistake filing their returns over the past two years, and 70 percent feel that artificial intelligence could be the solution to filing accurately, according to Accenture.

“With artificial intelligence starting to permeate nearly every aspect of our daily life, from digital voice assistants to smart home devices, revenue agencies also are looking to its potential in their own operations,” says David Regan, who leads Accenture’s global work with revenue agencies and tax authorities. “It won’t be long before citizens will be able to talk to tax-expert automated bots to understand and pay their taxes.”

How will AI help us?

To make the tax filing process easier, two-thirds (67 percent) say they’ll use a “digital tax assistant,” if offered.

These tax robots will run in the background of our devices, and “address any tax question with conversational language,” the study says. Over time they’ll understand more about tax situations than current tax professionals.

What would justify AI for consumers? More than half are willing to try it out if it can

  • 53 percent: Write up basic personal information
  • 55 percent: Reduce or eliminate errors
  • 55 percent: Make tax filing more convenient
  • 67 percent: Decrease the amount of time it takes to receive a refund

And we have some specific wish-list items, too. Over two-thirds want personalized services like

  • 73 percent: Website content specific and unique to the them
  • 69 percent: A messaging service (like email) to verify the return before issuing a refund
  • 66 percent: More customer service for better fitting tax advice

A “digital tax assistant” can improve all these services, according to the study.

What’s the problem with tax filing?

Out of the 12 countries surveyed, most taxpayers say they’re happy with their countries’ tax authority — the government agency designed to evaluate, collect and charge fees to those who break tax laws, the study says. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) report having a “positive attitude” toward them.

The Internal Revenue Service is our tax authority. Although around the world taxpayers overall feel one way, Pew Research has shown Americans’ view of the IRS is a bit different.

Only 34 percent enjoy doing their taxes. Most (56 percent) don’t like it, and 26 percent flat out hate it.

Three-fifths (59 percent) say the tax system in the U.S. doesn’t work and Congress should completely change it. Out of 13 governmental agencies, the IRS ranked last in favorability, with only 44 percent liking it.

Despite how anyone feels about these organizations, laws set by country’s tax authorities still confuse taxpayers around the world. Over a third (38 percent) aren’t confident they pay the right amount in taxes, while 44 percent feel they need to improve their personal knowledge on paying taxes.

And over half (51 percent) of taxpayers around the world have had to contact their tax authority once or twice in the past year, and 20 percent had to three or more times — most of all were over mistakes made while filing.

This could be why so many are open to using “digital tax assistants.”

“Advances in artificial intelligence, particularly natural language processing, are creating the ability to support rich voice conversations between people and technology,” Regan says. “The implications for AI also extend to processes like audits, risk and compliance management and the accuracy of prompts to taxpayers. AI will radically alter traditional approaches to communication and information processing.”

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

Tech

income, IRS, tax returns

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Article last modified on March 26, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Will “Digital Tax” Robots Fix Our Filing Mistakes? - AMP.