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IRS' voice system stems huge call overflows.

IRS' Voice System Stems Huge Call Overflows When you can claim the most frequently called telephone number in the world, you have to expect some call processing problems.

That was what happened with the Internal Revenue Service and its Tele-Tax automated information system.

Established in 1983, Tele-Tax allows access to recorded tax and refund information around the clock for touchstone callers, and during business hours for rotary dialers. In its first year, the service got 1.9 million phone calls.

That grew to 13.5 million calls in 1988 and 28 million in 1989. Last year, AT&T told the IRS that Tele-Tax was indeed the most often dialed number in the world.

With that many callers, IRS sites were getting call overflows that were causing problems for telcos. Even AT&T's central office computers couldn't handle the overflow volumes, and AT&T told the IRS it sould buy more voice processing systems or quit publicizing Tele-Tax.

Processing a refund inquiry with Tele-Tax, for instance, costs the IRS only a third as much as it does to have IRS personnel handle the call. The IRS' decision was obvious.

The agency contracted with Microlog for up to 30 48-line VCS 3500 voice processing systems over the next five years. Some have already been brought on line, and are starting to cut the number of overflows.

With the VCS 3500s, taxpayer callers can access information on topics such as IRS procedures and services, filing requirements, exemptions, types of income, deductions, and credits. By entering a Social Security number, filing status, and amount of their refund, taxpayers can check the status of their refund via an interactive voice response module.
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Title Annotation:Internal Revenue Service
Publication:Communications News
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:277
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