H&R Block teams with IBM for cloud-based Watson tax services

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H&R Block Watson taxesIf you watched Sunday’s big game, you may have caught H&R Block’s new ad that highlights an initiative to use cloud-based IBM Watson services to help customers make sense of the time-consuming and often confusing process of filing their taxes.

The first phase of the two companies’ collaboration involves training Watson to knowledgeably answer the numerous questions that come up during the tax preparation process. To do so, H&R Block fed the IBM supercomputer all 74,000 pages of the US tax code.

Here’s the ad, in case you missed it:

That’s just the first step. NetworkWorld explained what comes next:

IBM said that Watson’s initial training was validated by H&R Block tax experts – who have filed some 720 million returns since 1955 – and the initial corpus will expand over time through each subsequent tax season. During the next phase, H&R Block tax professionals will work with IBM to continue teaching Watson all about tax and apply the technology to innovate in other areas of their business.

Applying Watson’s machine learning, natural language and image recognition capabilities to world of tax preparation adds another industry to its skillset. It has also worked in fields including healthcare and cybersecurity.

For more, check out NetworkWorld‘s full article.

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