Taxing, no more! AI and Robotics eases compliance processes

Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to become more prevalent in the functioning of businesses and economies around the globe. In the past five years, it has revolutionized many industries and facets of economic proliferators like for instance, the world of taxes.

Globally, the accounting of Tax provisions has and continues to be difficult, expensive and laborious to achieve across businesses. It is only likely that it will soon become even more demanding as organizations’ expectations, functions and administrations grow.  What is clear is that the time to prepare is dwindling quickly.

Embracing the trend of AI and the broader intelligent automation trend, can allow businesses and governments to automate more of their processes, thus mitigating a large amount of manpower and other allied investments.

In this regard, HM Revenue and Customs is probably the organization that stands to gain from automation and artificial intelligence technologies the most in the world. With almost 65,000 employees on rolls, put to the task of collecting 600bn pounds annually in tax, the department is in dire need of technological advancements to help ease the magnitude of investment. Currently under a 13-year transformation programme, wherein by 2025 redistribution of employees is to take place, HMRC is more than willing to adopt AI and robotics to help them automate their tax processes and help solve multiple conundrums.

Having already set up an Automation Delivery Centre in 2016, HMRC, within two years, had achieved its goal of processing 10 million automated transactions. The department’s annual report for 2018/19 revealed that, over the course of the year, some 15.7 million transactions had been completed across 78 separate automated processes.  An area in which the authorities have already begun deploying AI, is risk and compliance.

In recent days, it is clear that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is investigating new ways in which robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to automate more complex functions and check the accuracy of tax returns. The department is slowly experimenting with this technology, to see how AI can assist with carrying out the most complex of tax operations. HMRC has also begun using virtual interaction platforms like social media to engage with businesses and people in order to simplify; answer queries with regards to tax compliance. The department has also successfully developed a virtual assistant called ‘Rita’ using a simple robotics technology.

According to Brigid McBride, Digital Transformation Director at HMRC, “The pace of change is not slowing, the demands of our customers are growing, and our customers are moving towards self-employment. The real challenge is building an organisation that can absorb that change and adapt to it.”

The department also feels that while machines deal with the mundane and routine, staff can concentrate on the complex, more human, part of their role. Economists can engage with AI leaders to educate and prepare themselves with the skills needed to thrive in this role.

HMRC is very enthusiastic about the recent developments and have set themselves up for a goal of automating 10 million of its processes soon. All in all, we can conclude by saying that it is going to require the very best of human skill and cooperation to get the right results from AI and Robotics.