Mark Burt, Project Manager for Expert Systems at the Australian Taxation Office, explains how they used XpertRule to develop a Baby Bonus Expert System
The Australian Taxation Office encourages as many clients as possible to use self-help. The use of expert systems is a key component in achieving this.
We recently used an expert system application on our website to enable users to determine their eligibility and entitlements to a new tax offset, the baby bonus.
The challenge was to provide accurate and consistent advice to clients about the baby bonus. The baby bonus legislation provides for a payment through the taxation system to help families who have had a baby after 30 June 2001 and we expected this Commonwealth government initiative to generate a large number of enquiries at the busiest time of the year for our public enquiry areas.
Using an online expert system application applying business rules to information provided by the user, we are able to achieve a high level of consistency in advice. The web-based expert system application offers an immediate self-help and education solution for external users and is a resource for our staff answering telephone or counter enquires. The application is available initially for use online and later as a downloadable tool. It enables individuals to carry out their own calculations and check their eligibility based on their own circumstances.
The development of the application took three months end-to-end, including establishing specifications, testing, useability testing, clearances and publishing. Implementation as a web application was achieved using an interface developed specifically to meet our strict web design and development standards.
In the first two months of usage the baby bonus URL had 27,573 requests, and was in the top one hundred most frequently requested pages on our website. There was minimal critical feedback.
The high usage and low critical feedback suggest that there is high user acceptance of this expert system application.
We have therefore concluded that the use of the expert system application offered a timely, convenient, consistent, and accurate solution to manage the enquiries generated from the introduction of the baby bonus.