Technology enabling the business of government

TOPICS Quick Free Form

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Unemployment Insurance (UI) division identified an opportunity to streamline its processes by incorporating image recognition into the existing system.

When an employer submits a payment for state unemployment taxes without a corresponding tax report or payment voucher, DOL’s system prints a payment voucher, which acts as an invoice to ensure the accurate posting of the payment to the correct employer’s account.

But a new module, Check Free Form, automates the process by using image recognition to read the employer’s account number on the check and capture the amount of the check.

As a result, the module eliminates the need to print payment vouchers to process payments from employers and especially from service providers and certified public accountants, who usually submit machine-printed checks. It also eliminates the need to manually match vouchers with payments and to manually correct the amount on the payment voucher if it doesn’t match the check.

In addition, DOL’s Quarterly Tax Report, which should accompany an employer’s payment, is often recreated by employers and doesn’t always align with the template in the existing system. Quick Free Form’s image-recognition capabilities allow for improved identification of fields in recreated tax forms.

Quick Free Form has dramatically reduced the workload of the Unemployment Insurance division. During one quarter in 2015, 150,000 checks were received, and about 33 percent did not include a tax form or voucher. Before Quick Free Form, DOL staff would create vouchers for unaccompanied checks, match vouchers to checks, and manually correct vouchers whenever discrepancies occurred between vouchers and checks. It could take up to six days to fully process unaccompanied checks. Quick Free Form reduced the time to a day and a half.

DOL staff could previously spend up to six days processing tax reports that were kicked out of the system as unrecognizable. Quick Free Form’s image-recognition capabilities have shortened the time to two days.

Quick Free Form boasts an image-recognition accuracy rate of 98 percent.