IBM Gives Tax Man a Helping Hand

New Tax Collections Optimizer analytics software aims to help governments calculate and collect taxes from delinquent debtors. Service has already one support in New York, where state officials have recouped more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes.

IBM announced the release of Tax Collections Optimizer, an application that promises to make life much easier for tax-collection agencies like the IRS as they try to track down and collect unpaid taxes.

The software, developed by IBM's (NYSE: IBM) research and global business service units, simplifies the tax-collecting process by running data analytics that determine the likelihood of collecting unpaid or underpaid taxes, the best time to call a tax payer to set up a personal visit and how to manage each collector's workload to improve the overall efficiency of the agency.

The state of New York is among the first governments to install the software, and officials predict it will help increase the state's tax-collection revenue by more than $100 million in the next three years.

"The project uses leading-edge technology and it took a strong, dedicated team to make it a success," Timothy Gardinier, manager of data warehouse solutions at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, said in a statement. "I believe this project keeps us on the forefront of technology and gives us the edge we need to collect taxes in these tough times."

Taxpayers who are already dodging a litany of IRS- and tax-related malware and phishing scams now have to deal with better informed and organized tax collectors.

The software crunches taxpayer data, like the amount owed and past payment history, to create a plan for collecting from the entire population of delinquent taxpayers. It also creates a work-flow analysis that automatically looks for tactics and processes tailored to collect taxes from a particular individual or company.

"The current processes used to recover unpaid funds by tax agencies around the world are complex, outdated, costly and generally ineffective," Michael Schroeck, IBM's vice president of business analytics and optimization services, said in a statement. "Organizations are handling more information and data than ever before, but at the same time they know they are not keeping pace."

By collaborating with New York state officials and testing out various components now incorporated in Tax Collections Optimizer, IBM said that it has been able to identity questionable refund claims and recover more than $1.04 billion since 2004.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: software, IBM, application, software management, taxes

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