The IRS is searching for contractors to support its plans to catch errors on tax returns when they are initially filed to avoid the need to fix them later — potentially with help from artificial intelligence.

In a request for information (RFI) published December 22, 2023, the IRS said it is looking for outside help with meeting goals laid out in initiative 2.1 of its strategic operating plan, a roadmap for spending its funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

As part of that initiative, the IRS wants to notify taxpayers and tax professionals about potential issues when a return is filed to minimize the need to fix errors after filing. The plan says the IRS will “also offer real-time checks and notifications to help taxpayers claim any credits or deductions for which they may be eligible but have missed on their returns.”

The RFI is seeking responses from contractors who can help the IRS detect scams and schemes when returns are filed, including by matching “tax returns against prior year returns and tax account information to reject returns with indicators consistent with known scams/schemes” and by using “AI-based anomaly detection to detect taxpayer and tax preparer behavior patterns indicating victimization by and/or participation in a tax scam or scheme.”

The IRS noted that the purpose of the RFI is to gather information for project planning and that it isn’t a solicitation for proposals.

Noting that it appears that the IRS is looking to apply AI to examine and detect issues with tax filings, Harry Foxwell of George Mason University’s College of Engineering and Computing, told Tax Notes, “We can do that kind of thing today because the technology is up to the task, and this is a perfect area for applying that.”

“Tax returns are becoming very complicated, and I think they need automation rather than people to do some of these things,” continued Foxwell, who was previously a technical consultant for Oracle Corp.