Tread lightly when taking tax advice from AI & social media
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Even before film makers began sticking extra scenes at the end of credits, I sat in the darkened theater until the last credit rolled. I do the same when I screen movies and television shows at home … when I can.
As I tweeted today, I'd love it if streamers used an artificial intelligence (AI) program to note that I like to watch full show openings. And recaps. And all the closing credits. OK, not so much the information about who's dubbing the actors when the shows are streamed in other countries, but I do use that time for post-show breaks that were on hold without commercials.
You get the idea. I'd love AI if it could just automatically see how I watch (or try to watch) streaming shows and set each service to do that for me.
AI + taxes = more tax issues: One area, however, where I'm not such a big AI fan is taxes.
That's also the conclusion reached by Jennifer Jolly, a consumer tech columnist, despite the headline of her USA Today article, 'AI, can I deduct that?' The top five overlooked tax deductions and how AI can help you find more.
Jolly's article is this weekend's first Saturday Shout Out.
After looking at some broad answers that a ChatGPT tax deduction inquiry provided, and a discussion with a real person who's a CPA, Jolly noted that AI alone is a no-go when it comes to tax advice.
But in conjunction with a tax pro, AI could help. Jolly also looks at how some tax preparers are using AI.
Heck, even the Internal Revenue Service is taking advantage of AI voice and chat bots as part of its telephone help lines, as well as to assist taxpayers set up payment plans.
TikTok tax trepidations, too: The focus on AI for tax tips is just the latest way folks try to find quick and too-often suspect tax advice.
That's why a second Saturday Shout Out goes to Rebecca Chen's Yahoo Finance story, TikTok can serve up bad tax advice, tax pros warn.
Yes, dancing moms and silly animals are great TikTok videos. I even know a few tax pros who use the medium to reach folks. But even those tax folks warn against taking a video's few seconds of tax advice, since everyone's tax situation is unique.
As with most things on all social media, Chen notes that the online blurbs oversimplify the ins and outs of tax deductions or credits.
Get real, and thorough, tax help: At best, bad online tax advice, whether generated by human or artificial intelligence, can cost you some money and a follow-up from the IRS. At worst, it could be a scam that leads to loss of your tax refund and identity.
While this isn't a surprise to anyone who's been filing taxes for years, or to tax pros who often have to clean up the aftermath of clients taking incomplete and/or bad online tax advice, it's still worth pointing out, just in case.
So enjoy this weekend's two Saturday Shout Outs at your leisure.
If you need the warning to tread carefully when getting online tax advice, please heed it and get professional, not just online, tax help.
If you already are well aware of the dangers of, at best, overbroad tax advice, read the articles and feel smug.
And I leave you with a final, and valid, Twitter tax limerick by Enrolled Agent (and fellow Texan) Josh Youngblood:
On social media, advice may abound,— Josh Youngblood, EA (@JoshYoungblood) March 3, 2023
But sometimes it's not sound,
Like bad tax advice,
That doesn't play nice,
And can leave you with problems profound.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Don't fall for any of the Dirty Dozen tax scams
- VITA & TCE volunteers ready to help filers do their taxes
- Picking the perfect tax pro for your filing (and more) needs
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