Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners used robots to update 20,000 PAYE tax records

14 Mar 2019

Image: © phonlamaiphoto/

Revenue looking at deploying RPA technology across other areas of the tax system, including self-employed taxpayers.

The Office of the Irish Revenue Commissioners has collaborated with Deloitte to use robotic process automation (RPA) technology to identify more than 20,000 PAYE tax records that required an update following a change in marital status.

Revenue, in collaboration with Deloitte, successfully piloted a project using RPA technology, which it says has led to improved service for Revenue customers, improved transaction processing and better use of resources by Revenue.

‘It frees our skilled staff to focus on higher-value work and more strategic projects’

Future Human

RPA is a technology that automates repeatable, rules-based tasks across multiple systems.

March of the robotic tax collectors

The RPA pilot automated the process of updating these 20,000 PAYE taxpayer records. The normal update process can take as many as 200 steps, depending on the circumstances and complexity of a case. The pilot reduced the execution time for each case from hours to minutes.

Additionally, the RPA solution can be easily reconfigured and replicated in other areas of the tax system, including similar processes for self-employed taxpayers.

“The RPA pilot has proven the potential of the technology and provides significant benefits from a number of standpoints,” explained Revenue CIO John Barron.

“It delivers a more accurate, consistent and efficient service to our PAYE taxpayers. In addition, it frees our skilled staff to focus on higher-value work and more strategic projects. This is hugely positive from our perspective, and allows us to better deploy our staff and optimise our performance, productivity and output,” Barron said.

Ruairí Allen, consulting partner with Deloitte, added: “Our experience shows that one of the major advantages of implementing robotics solutions is the freeing up of valuable staff time, which may have been spent on labour-intensive tasks that are very necessary but don’t always deliver strategic impact.

“Solutions such as this one are an effective way to ensure that people’s expertise and time are used in the best way possible. We are delighted to have collaborated with Revenue on this project, and look forward to collaborating with them on future plans in the space,” Allen said.

He added that in addition to the time savings that can be achieved, one of the most exciting elements of the pilot was the potential to reuse technology across other areas of the tax system.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years