Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Blue J: Will AI Replace Tax Practitioners?

Benjamin Alarie (Osler Chair in Business Law, University of Toronto; CEO, Blue J Legal) et al., Will AI Replace Tax Practitioners?, 181 Tax Notes Fed. 855 (Oct. 30, 2023):

Tax Notes Federal (2022)In the evolving legal landscape created by the advancement of artificial intelligence, we confront a worrying question: Will tax practitioners eventually find themselves sidelined by this technological revolution? There is no denying that AI’s capabilities can expedite many of the core tasks we tax professionals perform, potentially pushing our traditional roles toward obsolescence and prompting a sea change in how professional services firms operate. Yet we should recognize the intrinsic value tax practitioners bring — our ability to negotiate, the human touch of empathy, the ethical compass, and the ability to make complex inferences and connections between various tax provisions. These aspects reflect a nuanced art not (yet) replicated by machines. Moreover, a pure reliance on AI is not without potential pitfalls. That reliance risks reinforcing preexisting biases, poses privacy challenges, and could undermine the fidelity of tax planning. Ultimately, we envision a future in which tax practitioners will be instrumental in shaping AI tools and regulations in the tax context. It is not so much that tax practitioners will be replaced by AI but that tax practitioners who leverage AI will outpace and displace those who choose not to adopt it.

Few questions have captured the imagination of professionals and policymakers as intensely as the prospect of AI usurping human roles in complex fields. At the forefront of this discourse lies the tax profession, intricately woven into the fabric of economic systems and societal structures. AI’s capability to automate and enhance tasks performed by tax practitioners presents a compelling vision of a future in which the intersection of technology and human expertise could redefine the tax law and policy landscape. This installment of Blue J Predicts embarks on an exploration of this pivotal transformation. We examine how AI has the potential to upend the status quo, the current inherent limitations of technology that underscore the irreplaceability of human tax practitioners (for now), and the emerging paradigm in which collaboration between humans and machines will elevate the standards of the profession. ...

The trajectory of the tax profession is indelibly influenced by AI advancements, highlighting a narrative of evolution and synergy rather than replacement. AI augments the capability of tax practitioners, enabling enhanced accuracy, efficiency, and foresight in service delivery. The enduring necessity for nuanced legal interpretation, personal client relations, and ethical considerations solidifies the continued relevance of humans in the field. However, an inevitable transformation is on the horizon. Tomorrow’s tax practitioner will leverage AI rather than contest it, and adaptive practitioners who integrate AI will replace those who resist. As we venture forward, embracing this new frontier will be imperative for those seeking to remain at the forefront of the industry.

Blue J Tax Notes Federal articles:

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