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Saturday, March 25, 2017

AI, Apps, FinTech and More

You likely have lots of apps on your smartphone such as for shopping, interacting with hotels and airlines, social media, and lots more. You may have seen or heard about H&R Block's 2017 Super Bowl ad about their artificial intelligence (AI) partnership with IBM (Watson). Per the H&R Block website they are working with "Watson cognitive computing technology from IBM."

Every year, there are a good number of tax cases where the taxpayer loses because of missing or incomplete records. And even more lose during audits. I'm sure we'll soon see a case where the judge asks the taxpayer: "I see you have a smartphone. Why don't you use it to keep proper records?"

There are numerous tools to track mileage and whether for personal or business, easily convert paper receipts into pdfs, keep detailed recordkeeping, and more.

A new solution is AccountingTalk. It helps you track your records and mileage. It uses AI to let you talk into your phone to describe what the document or event is. The AI converts that to a spreadsheet for you, properly sorted with the source document linked. It can link with your bank account too. You see up to date information whenever needed.

And they even offer free versions!  This is a tremendous benefit to freelancers and other small businesses.

I'm working on an article for State Tax Notes on how we need to make far better use of today's technology for income tax compliance, which is still too tied to paper filing. Basically, we just moved the paper to e-files.  You still manually enter a lot of information even though much of it exists electronically. Brokerage firms have advanced to easily let your account information feed into your tax prep software. But, even though, for example, I'm paid via automatic bank deposit (so electronic records exist), I have to type my W-2 information in to my tax prep software (from the paper W-2 my employer mailed to me via the US Post Office).  Yes, I know some software allows scanning, but we still have the paper. Why can't it all feed into a system when created.  And, combined with recordkeeping tools, such as AccountingTalk or others to track business income and expenses, you should even be able to track your income tax liability on a daily basis if needed. Just open the app and see what your income and income tax bill is to date, and if you need to, for example, increase your estimated tax payment.

Well, more on this later.

What modern technologies are you using to help with tax compliance?  What do you think?

1 comment:

Connie Buckman said...

Great article, Professor! A very good point about using AI for tax records. Thanks for the recommendation on an excellent APP for small businesses.