Canada’s Justice Department trials AI system to help decide on tax cases Canada’s Justice Department trials AI system to help decide on tax cases

Canada’s Justice Department trials AI system to help decide on tax cases
02 Oct 2018

Canada’s Justice Department is piloting an artificial intelligence-based (AI) system to help make decisions in cases involving immigration, pension benefits and taxes.

The 18-month pilot project involves 26 tax practitioners at Justice Canada, who are using commercial AI software to analyse thousands of court cases, with the aim of predicting how judges might rule on a given set of facts about a taxpayer's affairs.

The Justice Department wants to be “on the leading edge and part of the critical discussions surrounding how to leverage new technology as a department and as a government”, according to a May 2018 briefing note obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act.

The pilot scheme is based on the software program Tax Foresight, which was developed last year by Toronto-based tech start-up, Blue J Legal. The company, founded by legal experts at the University of Toronto, claims the application can predict tax litigation outcomes at an accuracy rate of 90%.

The Department of Justice, which has paid Blue J Legal more than CAN$20,000 (US$15,413) in software licences, went ahead with the pilot after its AI Task Force recommended an off-the-shelf product for the exercise, spokesman Ian McLeod told CBC.

The department did not provide details on how Tax Foresight will be used, except to say it will not supplant human employees. "This technology is meant to assist government employees in their work, not replace them," McLeod said.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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Canada’s Justice Department is piloting an artificial intelligence-based (AI) system to help make decisions in cases involving immigration, pension benefits and taxes.

The 18-month pilot project involves 26 tax practitioners at Justice Canada, who are using commercial AI software to analyse thousands of court cases, with the aim of predicting how judges might rule on a given set of facts about a taxpayer's affairs.

The Justice Department wants to be “on the leading edge and part of the critical discussions surrounding how to leverage new technology as a department and as a government”, according to a May 2018 briefing note obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act.

The pilot scheme is based on the software program Tax Foresight, which was developed last year by Toronto-based tech start-up, Blue J Legal. The company, founded by legal experts at the University of Toronto, claims the application can predict tax litigation outcomes at an accuracy rate of 90%.

The Department of Justice, which has paid Blue J Legal more than CAN$20,000 (US$15,413) in software licences, went ahead with the pilot after its AI Task Force recommended an off-the-shelf product for the exercise, spokesman Ian McLeod told CBC.

The department did not provide details on how Tax Foresight will be used, except to say it will not supplant human employees. "This technology is meant to assist government employees in their work, not replace them," McLeod said.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

What will the payroll professional of the future look like?

What will artificial intelligence mean for payroll?

Will payroll jobs be automated out?

 

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