H&R Block now has an AI chatbot that answers confusing tax questions

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


Generative AI is really good at making sense of confusing information and extracting key details, so tax help is a natural fit.

Well, that’s what H&R Block thinks anyway.

According to The Verge, the tax-preparation company announced on Thursday a new tool called AI Tax Assist. The generative AI chatbot will be available with paid editions of H&R Block’s DIY tax-filing products to help answer questions about tax forms, deductions, specific tax codes, and more.

While more businesses look to harness generative AI, tax help is a bold new application. However, it’s worth noting that language models can hallucinate and produce confident-sounding, yet inaccurate responses. When it comes to tax filing, trust and accuracy is pretty crucial.

An H&R Block spokesperson told Mashable that AI Tax Assist was rigorously tested by technical and human models. Plus, it’s overseen by a team monitoring its performance for accuracy and behavior. And finally, it has a built-in feature for users to provide feedback to refine the system. “H&R Block has a 100% accuracy and maximum refund guarantees,” said the spokesperson.

AI Tax Assist also does not pull data from the internet, only from the H&R Block dataset, which helps ensure quality control. The language model is built with Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service and trained on H&R Block’s data, which includes its tax research hub The Tax Institute and knowledge from 60,000 tax professionals.

H&R Block has had past controversies about misleading customers into using its services and faced a class action lawsuit about sharing personal financial information with Google. That said, our sibling site PCMag (also owned by Ziff Davis) has given its tax prep software the seal of approval. That being said, know what you’re getting into if you use H&R Block and its AI tools.

Unfortunately, the free edition of H&R Block’s online tax filing doesn’t offer AI Tax Assist. But it comes included with the Deluxe edition, which costs 35 bucks.





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