The UK Autumn Budget gets tough on tech companies and tax


During yesterday's Autumn statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined positive measures to push the adoption of autonomous and electric cars, develop new 5G networks, treble the number of computer science teachers and further research into AI and robotics. But tucked away in the 88-page document were small changes that show the UK government plans to get a lot tougher on technology companies that aren't willing to give back as much as they should. The most important notice came during Hammond's budget speech. As he pledged £400 million for a UK-wide EV charging network and a £100 million subsidy for electric car buyers, the finance minister also outlined steps to claw back money from tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple, which use legal loopholes to avoid paying tax in the UK. "Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to jurisdictions where they are not taxed – and some of these royalties relate to UK sales," said Hammond in his speech.

Ex-Google Executive Registers First Church of AI With IRS


A former executive at Google has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn't just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence itself, with the goal of creating a godhead. The new church of AI will aim "to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society," according to IRS documents. The non-profit religious organization would be called "Way of the Future" (WOTF). According to the website (, the movement is "about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people'machines.'"

Paradise Papers explained: Offshore assets of Apple, Queen Elizabeth II, others exposed in historical data leak

FOX News

The bombshell Paradise Papers are reportedly implicating key members of the Trump administration. On Nov. 5, one of the largest data leaks in history revealed the offshore endeavors of some of the world's most influential people. Here's what you need to know about the Paradise Papers, so named because many of the offshore assets are held in tropical places like Bermuda. The Paradise Papers refers to a trove of 13.4 million documents that expose the offshore assets of some of the world's biggest companies such as Nike, Apple, and Uber. The leak, which is one of the biggest in history and comes about 18 months after the Panama Papers leak, exposes how these companies and individuals "avoid taxes through increasingly imaginative bookkeeping maneuvers," according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories, according to its website, which has access to the documents.

The wealthy get the biggest benefit from House Republican tax plan, analysis finds

Los Angeles Times

Trump opens Asia trip with Japan's Abe against backdrop of tensions with North Korea Just one in three Americans trust Trump to handle North Korean tensions well Japan's Abe treats Trump to a day of personal diplomacy, including golf and trucker hats Brazile says Democratic primaries weren't'rigged' though some see evidence in her new book Trump is silent on Saudi king's purge though he and Salman spoke by phone Japan's Abe treats Trump to a day of personal diplomacy, including golf and trucker hats Brazile says Democratic primaries weren't'rigged' though some see evidence in her new book Trump is silent on Saudi king's purge though he and Salman spoke by phone The greatest benefit from the House Republican tax bill would go to upper-income households, according to an analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Middle-income taxpayers -- those earning between $48,600 and $86,100 annually -- would receive an average tax cut of $700 next year, or about 1% of their after-tax income, the analysis said. The top 20% of the nation's earners -- those making more than $149,400 a year -- would receive an average tax cut of $4,850, or about 1.4% of after-tax income. Those top earners would also receive 60% of the total tax benefits under the plan. Of that, the top 1% of earners, defined as those making more than $730,000 a year, receive about 22% of the total amount of tax cuts in 2018, the Tax Policy Center said.

Google denies Korean tax evasion allegation


Google has denied allegations from Lee Hae-jin, founder of Naver, South Korea's largest search engine, that it doesn't pay proper taxes in the country. Google, in a rare statement, strongly denied the allegation made by Lee at a National Assembly inspection meeting earlier this week, saying it is paying taxes properly in Korea and is "abiding by local tax laws and treaties". Lee -- who was defending Naver over user criticism for manipulating its news feed -- also alleged that Google hired little compared to the money they made in the country, and that it was skirting taxes by having servers abroad when traffic was comparatively high. Lee also said there is discrimination against local companies towards foreign companies that have not been formerly inspected. Google looked "relatively clean" on news abuse because it has a low web search share in Korea, Lee added.

Harnessing the Strategic Potential of Tax Data with Machine Learning - Financial Executives International Daily


Other than simplifying jobs, what can ML do to improve functions in data-intensive industries? Given the rise of machine learning (ML), the disruptive potential on every industry has become commonly accepted knowledge. What's been referred to as the merging of humans and machines is poised to transform society, politics, industrial processes, medicine, business and even war. In fact, IDC projects that 75 percent of future business software will include some form of artificial intelligence (ML being a form of AI) features within the year. The benefits of this type of technology are most significant within data-intensive, algorithm-based industries.

Boston area stakes Amazon HQ pitch on technology talent

Boston Herald

In the high-stakes contest to land Amazon's new headquarters, many consider Boston to be a serious contender competing against other big technology hubs around the United States and Canada. But it's also competing against its neighbors: Several smaller Massachusetts cities -- along with Rhode Island and southern New Hampshire -- are each submitting their own pitches to Amazon, using proximity to Boston's tech talent as a major draw. "Talent really is the unquestionable, huge priority," said Brian Dacey, president of the Cambridge Innovation Center and a former Boston economic development director who says the region could make a strong case for luring the Seattle e-commerce company. Local research strengths -- such as in artificial intelligence and robotics -- are important to Amazon's business model, he said. The Seattle company is promising $5 billion of investment and 50,000 jobs in whichever North American region it chooses to build a second headquarters.

AI and Big Data – three years in the evolution of accounting


While some attendees were still evaluating whether Big Data was impacting accounting, speakers and others demonstrated how big data and related technologies like machine learning and blockchain were making bigger impacts. At that show, Big 4 firms showed how they were creating new tax tools using vast amounts of corporate transaction and regulatory/compliance data to prepare better corporate tax filings. Each of these recent graduates described how they were not interested in transaction posting audit related tasks that have defined the early career years of many in accounting. At one point in his remarks, he said that instead of talking about this stuff, he'd show the real world application of Big Data, workflow, natural language processing, AI and other technologies in three short financial accounting applications.



The tax function can access the power of AI's predictive functionality to facilitate more accurate forecasting for tax calculations, including the forecasted effective tax rate for interim financial reporting. Data sets can be created to capture appropriate general ledger account details with rules applied to calculate tax amounts. A simple example is the treatment of meals and entertainment expenses where several general ledger account details are aggregated based on tax requirements, with the 50% deductibility limitation then applied for tax purposes. For finance and tax, AI and machine learning capabilities can produce "bots" that mimic human behavior and, with the appropriate rules applied, can perform routine tasks, freeing up humans for higher-risk, higher-value activities.

California Wants to Tax Job Stealing Robots


In the study of climate alone, data have become so voluminous forcing researchers to turn to AI to make analytical work easier and faster. The World Economic Forum predicted that robotic automation will result in the net loss of more than 5 million jobs across 15 developed nations by 2020, according to its recent report. "We're still working on what defines a robot and what defines job displacement," Kim relates. Rob High, IBM Watson's Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, in an interview with PC Mag, maintained that AI is just another human tool that amplifies human thinking and strengths: "If you look at almost every other tool that has ever been created, our tools tend to be most valuable when they're amplifying us, when they're extending our reach, when they're increasing our strength, when they're allowing us to do things that we can't do by ourselves as human beings."