Expert Systems in Taxation
Robert H. Michaelsen and William F. Messier, Jr.
This article analyzes the use of expert systems
in taxation. First, a definition of expert systems is presented
along with a review of current applications in taxation. Second,
the potential usefulness of expert systems in four areas of taxation
is evaluated: (1) planning, (2) legal research, (3) education,
and (4) academic research. Criteria for identifying decision tasks
appropriate for expert system development are introduced along
with a discussion of potential applications of expert systems.
Finally, a number of issues that may hinder the successful development
of expert systems in taxation are presented.
An Approach to the Measurement
of Tax Law Complexity
Susan B. Long and Judyth A. Swingen
The objective of this study is to develop a new
approach to the measurement of tax law complexity. Complexity
measures employed in prior research are reviewed and evaluated.
A new measurement technique based upon the expert judgment of
tax professionals is proposed. The feasibility of this method
is tested using data from a survey of tax accountants, attorneys,
return preparers, and educators. Results indicate that tax professionals
are able to quantitatively rate the complexity of line items on
a Form 1040; that there is high consensus in these ratings; and
that ratings were not affected by differences in education, vocation,
or experience level. The impact of six factors associated with
complexity (ambiguity, calculations, changes, detail, forms, and
record keeping) is also examined.
Interrelationships of Sections
731, 736, and 751: A Worksheet Approach
G. Fred Streuling, James H. Boyd, and Kenneth
It is clear from the statutes that most distributions
in liquidation of a partnership interest that involve some cash
payments are subject to the provisions of three Code sections:
Sections 731, 736, and 751. It is critical to understand in what
sequence the provisions of all three sections are applicable.
To facilitate the proper use of the intricate rules, the authors
have developed a worksheet approach that is designed to apply
the appropriate provisions in their correct sequence. Initially,
this approach may require a considerable start-up effort. However,
once the concepts have been mastered, the worksheet becomes an
indispensable tool that converts a difficult and tedious task
to a programmed decision process which simplifies the task, eliminates
errors, and may be adaptable to the computer.
Tax Policy and Erroneous Information:
An Analysis of the Interaction of Inflation, Indexation, and Income
William A. Duncan and Michael A. O'Dell
Congress substantially modified the income averaging
provisions in 1984 to correct what it believed to be serious problems
in the law. In the Committee Report on the Tax Reform Act of 1984,
Congress contended that taxpayers were reaping unintended savings
as a result of the interaction of the income averaging provisions
and inflation, the effect of which would be magnified by indexing.
This study evaluates the validity of this Report under a wide
array of economic and tax assumptions. The results suggest that
Congress's concerns were either irrelevant, mathematically incorrect,
or founded on erroneous information. Such findings are offered
in the hope that future tax legislation will be based on more
Individual Tax Planning
Software: A Critical Analysis
Steward S. Karlinsky and Blake Pintar
This study analyzes 14 individual tax planning software
packages. The analysis should be useful to academicians in integrating
computers and taxation in the classroom. Each package is measured
for 143 tax and computer attributes which are classified in five
broad categories: (1) documentation and training assistance¸(2)
program mechanics, (3) input lines, (4) automatic features and
computations performed, and (5) miscellaneous program features.
These categories and attributes should help potential users determine
the best program for their needs.
Recent Developments in
Computer Usage in the Teaching of Tax Courses: Report of the 1984-85
American Taxation Association Computer Usage Committee
Debra M. White (Chair), Grant M. Clowery, Kevin
M. Misiewicz, and Jerrold J. Stern
This report summarizes the experiences of respondents to an American
Taxation Association membership survey on integrating computers
into tax courses. Two principal advantages of introducing computers
are identified: (1) to keep pace with developments in tax practice,
and (2) to develop a tool for increasing student comprehension.
Costs of introducing computers are identified and suggestions
are provided for cost minimization.