The Latvian tax administration has a virtual assistant – Tom

Kristine Stendere's picture
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To make communication with the tax administration friendlier and more convenient, the Latvian State Revenue Service (SRS) has started using artificial intelligence and conversation technologies this year. Since 2nd January 2020, visitors to the Tax Administration’s website www.vid.gov.lv can meet chatbot Tom. With Tom’s assistance, people can receive answers to the most frequently asked questions outside standard hours of operation and locations.

Tom's task is to answer the most frequently asked questions - 24/7. The first five topics Tom was trained to answer are about:

1) SRS hours of operation, locations, etc.,

2) registration of a business,

3) how to use the Electronic Declaration System (EDS),

4) annual submission of tax returns and eligible expenses (compulsory submission, types of eligible expenses, deadlines for repayment and payment), and

5) the "Eligible Expenses" mobile app.

Between 2nd and 14th January, Tom operated in test mode and inhabitants were encouraged to ask Tom questions and give feedback about the service to virtualais.asistents@vid.gov.lv. Inhabitants continue to submit their suggestions, comments, and feedback on Tom’s operation.

During the test period, Tom answered 14 317 questions. On the most active day, Tom consulted 1 453 users. Currently, Tom communicates with approximately 1 000 users daily.

Tom answers questions most frequently posed to SRS client service specialists: this will allow specialists to spend more time dealing with more complicated client issues. Currently, Tom speaks only Latvian, but in time, language skills will also be developed in English.

Tom is one of the first chatbots in Latvian public administration and was developed through the public administration language technology platform Hugo.lv. This confirms Latvia’s commitment to implement the latest technology: Latvia is currently the only nation in Europe creating a unified platform for all public administration chatbots.

Tom will continue to learn through dealing with questions and topics that are of importance to taxpayers and inhabitants of Latvia.