Exactly Wat(son) you need for filing taxes
In February 2017, an innovative man-machine partnership was announced that revolutionized the tax filing industry. H&R Block, founded more than 60 years ago, introduced a new, exclusive, consumer-facing experience that incorporates IBM Watson into their tax filing workflow. The technology from IBM is used by H&R Block’s tax professionals during the tax season to help deliver the best outcome for each unique tax situation, while helping clients better understand how different filing options can impact their tax outcome.
H&R Block was founded in 1955 by brothers Henry and Richard Bloch in Kansas City with the goal of offering cheap, one-stop-shop tax services for local businesses. The idea caught on quickly and by 1962 the company had gone public. Since then, H&R Block has processed over 720 million tax returns and operates company-owned and franchise retail locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, on U.S. military bases internationally and around the world.
IBM Watson was developed about a decade ago as a question-answering computer system capable of responding to questions in the language they were posed. The technology was initially tested on the game-show Jeopardy against the two greatest Jeopardy champions of all time and soundly beat both of them. Today, Watson can incorporate advanced natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation, automated reasoning, and machine learning technologies, enabling it to power an almost endless number of applications.
Using Watson’s AI-based capabilities, H&R Block can ensure that those filing taxes receive as many tax deductions as they can legally qualify for via Watson’s understanding of the US tax code, which has no less than 74,000 pages and is updated every year. Customers benefit from Watson’s ability to provide Deep Insights built from over 600 million data points. As H&R Block’s tax professionals use Watson, the platform learns from each interaction, getting smarter and more proficient, enabling the partnership to deliver highly personalized tax solutions.
According to Bill Cobb, H&R Block’s President and Chief Executive Officer, “By combining the human expertise, knowledge and judgment of our tax professionals with the cutting-edge cognitive computing power of Watson, we are creating a future where our clients will benefit from an enhanced experience and our tax pros will have the latest technology to help them ensure every deduction and credit is found. This partnership with Watson means we can leverage the best technology available to help our clients get their taxes won.”
H&R Block’s use of the Watson AI platform to maximize the tax returns of millions of their customers demonstrates how complex, data-rich industries can significantly benefit from the power of cognitive computing.
This capability is being harnessed in the area of indirect tax as well. Corporate entities, with extensive travel expenses, can harness of the power of a similar AI platform to maximize their indirect tax expenses by automatically extracting data from every single T&E invoice. Based on its proprietary AI-based platform, VATBox is an automated, enterprise-wide, cloud-based VAT recovery solution that handles reports, data collection, aggregation, qualification, submissions and the complexities that accompany these processes using a fully automated approach.
VATBox, a leader in the VAT recovery marketplace, has successfully streamlined the global VAT recovery process, providing businesses with unrivaled visibility, compliance, and data integrity, and ultimately boosting its bottom line.
Founded in 2012, VATBox implements the highest level of data security and compliance with all international rules and regulations of the various jurisdictions, and offers companies 360⁰ visibility into their VAT spend and recovery. As a privately-held company, VATBox’s technological breakthrough has raised USD $50M in private equity funding and attracted a large portfolio of Fortune 500 clients, including Dell, PPG, Monsanto, Teva Pharmaceuticals, 3M, Eli Lilly, and many others.
Let us show you how your company can thrive in today’s complex financial times using AI. Request a free demo here.