Thursday, August 31, 2017

Financial Gravity hosts AI design challenge for tax planning software

CEO of Financial Gravity John PollockFinancial Gravity / YouTube
Financial Gravity, a tax services and wealth management firm in Dallas, is sponsoring an AI design challenge for the creation of an an artificially intelligent tax advisor.
The AI-enabled automated tax planning assistant software, as it’s being called, will be named Odele; and its target end users are business owners, entrepreneurs and high net worth families with multiple sources of income, some investments, and the ability to save for the future.
Odele should be able to:
  • Present and compare taxes and income for a business owner for a variety of tax configurations, assumptions, and projections;
  • Calculate lost income by comparing taxes paid for a previous year with taxes that would have been paid under an optimal configuration;
  • Recommend optimal tax-planning configuration for the upcoming year, based on the business owner’s goals, preferences, personal lifestyle and logistics of implementing different tools and services; and
  • Learn and upgrade its algorithms based on each case it handles, new tax regulations, tax court cases, IRS rulings, etc. It should also able to alert users who may be using a strategy that is no longer optimal.
Financial Gravity reports that it has a database of ideal tax scenarios that maximize take-home income. The firm wants Odele to connect individuals to their most ideal scenario.
The firm is offering a total prize pool of up to $125,000, which may be split by up to five winners. The minimum prize is expected to be $20,000. FInancial Gravity also expects to invite competitors to partner with the firm, to share proprietary data to create a new and potentially jointly owned proprietary tool.
For more information on the challenge, click here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tipalti introduces touchless invoice data capture

Tipalti, which makes payments technology, is introducing “touchless” invoice data capture and artificial intelligence (AI)-based approval routing technology to its accounts payable platform. These new features are meant to fully automate invoice capture, eliminating this task from an accountant’s job list.

With these new in-built tools, Tipalti scans invoices from emails and automatically populates the required fields such as invoice number, supplier, quantity, and rate, and can recognize data in 27 languages. If the invoices scanned through optical character recognition (OCR) aren’t a 100 percent match, an escalation layer provided by Tipalti automatically routes the invoices to a managed service that manually reviews invoices, checks fields for accuracy and populates any missing fields. Machine learning of past invoice history is designed to improve OCR match rates over time.
The AI-based approval routing engine’s role is to then assign the bill approval sequence based on patterns learned from historical approval sequences. Email notifications are automatically routed to the appropriate approvers to action, in order to comply with an organization's existing internal control processes.
“Manual invoice processes stymie today’s finance organization and hold back the CFO from helping the business scale rapidly and be more successful,” said Chen Amit, CEO of Tipalti, in a statement. “By applying the latest OCR and AI technologies, along with managed services to address any exceptions, businesses can finally modernize their finance operations with a touchless invoice process. Directly integrating these features within the end-to-end supplier payments process means that AP teams will have significant time freed to focus on other business critical tasks.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

IRS warns of new ransomware scam

IRS Commissioner John KoskinenBloomberg News
The Internal Revenue Service sent an urgent warning Monday about a new phishing scheme in which a scam email purporting to originate from the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is actually part of a ransomware effort to take computer information hostage.
The bogus email actually includes the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. It tries to convince users to click on a “here” link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. Instead, the hyperlink downloads malware that prevents a victim from accessing the data stored on their device unless they pay money to the cybercriminals.
“This is a new twist on an old scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “People should stay vigilant against email scams that try to impersonate the IRS and other agencies that try to lure you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. People with a tax issue won’t get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call."
The IRS, along with state tax authorities and companies in the tax prep industry, have been collaborating on a partnership known as the Security Summit and are conducting an awareness campaign called Don’t Take the Bait warning tax professionals about different kinds of phishing scams, including ransomware.
The IRS cautioned victims not to pay a ransom, as it only encourages the criminals, and frequently the scammers won’t provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid.
Victims should instead immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center,, and forward any IRS-themed scams to
The IRS doesn’t use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, see the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Currently Not Collectible Status

There are times where you agree with the IRS that you owe taxes, but you can’t pay due to your current financial situation. If the IRS agrees that you can’t both pay your taxes and your reasonable living expenses, it may place your account in Currently Not Collectible (CNC) (hardship) status.
While your account is in CNC status, the IRS will not generally engage in collection activity.  For example: It won’t levy on your assets and income. However, the IRS will still charge interest and penalties to your account, and may keep your refunds and apply them to your debt. 
Before the IRS will place your account in CNC status, it may ask you to file any delinquent tax returns.
If you request CNC status, the IRS may ask you to provide financial information, including your income and expenses, and whether you can sell any assets or get a loan.
If your account is placed in CNC status, during the time it can collect the debt the IRS may review your income annually to see if your situation has improved . Generally, the IRS can attempt to collect your taxes up to 10 years from the date they were assessed, though the 10-year period is suspended in certain cases. The time the suspension is in effect will extend the time the IRS has to collect the tax.
Because the IRS won’t suspend interest and penalty charges, even if it stops trying to collect the balance due, you may want to consider other possible payment options within your means before asking the IRS to place your account in CNC status.

Source: IRS Taxpayer Advocate Services