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OSAKA The Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau has introduced a computerized telephone calling system to remind taxpayers to pay overdue taxes.

The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau pioneered the reminder-by-phone system in April, and officials hope it will improve tax collection in the Osaka area as it did in Tokyo.

In Tokyo, about 50 percent of the people who were called paid up, compared with just 10 percent when the reminder was sent by mail, officials said.

The Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau, which has jurisdiction over Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga, Nara and Wakayama prefectures, debuted the phone service Friday to process tax returns handled at the Naniwa, Higashi Sumiyoshi and Higashi tax offices in the city of Osaka.

The bureau plans to expand the reminder service across the entire Osaka regional jurisdiction by the end of this year. The regional call center is at the Naniwa tax office.

There, tax officials have prepared a list of more than 1,000 corporate and individual tax returns filed with the three tax offices that have fallen overdue since Aug. 1. The tax payments involved are all under 1 million.

Working from a computerized call system, Osaka tax officials will try to track down overdue taxpayers and remind them of their overdue taxes, officials say.

If an overdue taxpayer acknowledges a late payment, the Osaka tax bureau will follow up the call by mailing a tax payment form to the taxpayer.

If payment is not received within a certain period of time, the taxpayer will get another call.

The Osaka tax bureau said it had 32 billion in outstanding taxes as of March 31. Most of the overdue taxes were under 1 million.

Officials said a higher rate of collection of small amounts of overdue taxes would allow the bureau to assign more people to work on large-lot tax delinquents.

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