HMRC has announced it will be trialling the use of artificial intelligence (AI), beginning with using AI to control routine processes, such as customer contact and casework.

Mike Potter, HMRC’s interim chief digital and transformation officer, made the announcement at the Public Sector Show.

Potter outlined three areas where HMRC will investigate the use of AI:

  • Contact handling (using AI to minimise the need for human guidance when directing people to information)
  • Casework (using AI to improve decision-making)
  • AI prompts to help taxpayers with self-service

These trials will complement the wider government strategy encouraging the implementation of machine learning and the intelligent use of data. The DWP and DCMS are also currently looking at using AI.

AI is currently based on the use of bots rather than replicating real intelligence, but the technology continues to develop. A potential problem with the application of AI to tax is the difficulty of creating AI which can understand wider contextual information.