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Use cases for Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight

I'm a tax or employment professional. How are the services available through Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight relevant to what I do on a regular basis?

Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight use machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict the outcome of a new fact scenario based on data derived from previously decided court cases. Our software arms you in the most efficient way possible with the information most relevant to your scenario. You can use the predictions, similar case results, and explanatory memos, all based on the relevant body of case law, to jumpstart your research process, save you time, advise your client most effectively, quantify risks for your client, show evidence of your due diligence, test your intuitions, and advocate for your client in settlement discussions. Case Finder is a quick, effective tool that enables you to find the cases that are most important for your research or decision-making efforts

Can I simply flip the results of a Tax Foresight or Employment Foresight analysis to a client, or should I do additional research to satisfy myself that the results are accurate?

We recommend that users take time to read and understand the analysis, including the suggested reference materials, to ensure that they are comfortable with the analysis before sharing it with their clients. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight do not provide legal advice. They are tools for professionals to use in developing their own advice.

Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight Functionality

Classifiers

What does a Classifier do?

Classifiers use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze the body of case law for a particular legal issue and predict how a court would rule in a new scenario provided by the user. In out-of-sample testing, Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight have been shown to generate the correct prediction approximately 90% of the time. Each Classifier helps you understand the current state of the law in a specific area as it applies to your client’s situation. To obtain a result, you answer approximately 20 questions that pertain to the legal scenario at issue. Along with a predicted outcome, you receive a confidence level and an explanatory memo for the prediction. By changing your answers to individual questions, you can assess the relative significance of each factor to your scenario. Our software also provides you with the cases most similar to your scenario so you know where to begin your case law research.

What do I do if I don’t know the answer to a question?

We suggest that you run the Classifier for each possible answer to that question so that you can determine what the outcome would be for each scenario. This will allow you to get a sense of the relative impact and importance of that factor.

What does it mean when I get an 85% confidence rating from the system? What does it mean if the percentage is only 60%? How is that useful to me?

Our software reports on its confidence in the result that it reports. The greater the confidence, the more likely that the predicted result will prove to be accurate. A lower confidence, on the other hand, suggests that the predicted result may not be as accurate. As areas of law develop with more and more judicial decisions being handed down, the predictability of the law increases, and the confidence of our software increases as well. The confidence rating for a Classification ranges from 50% for a very close case to 95%+, which is the highest confidence rating.

Why does the software produce two sets of cases, “Similar Cases” and “References"?

Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight identify similar cases that they believe have important factual features in common with your circumstances. The References are the cases that are important in a given area of law and frequently cited by courts in judgments with respect to the legal issue in question.

Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight gave me a Classification (e.g., resident), but several of the most similar cases are all the opposite Classification (e.g., not resident). What does this mean?

This means that those judgments have gone the other way, even though they have some factual features in common with your circumstances. This happens most frequently when the Classifier at issue does not have very many (or any) truly similar cases to directly rely upon. Sometimes there are no clearly similar cases that have gone to court.

What does “My History” do? How about “Saved Classification”?

“My history” keeps a record of your past classifications and navigations. The “saved classifications” button keeps a record of the classifications and navigations you have chosen to save and h6 on the “Result” page of those classifications and navigations. These features allow you to keep a record of the files you’ve already run through the  system so you can refer to or re-run them later if the need arises. For both of these functions, you can go back and re-run the classifications to see if the result has changed over time as the courts update their reasoning and as the statutes are revised.

What is the coloured bar beside the cases under Similar Cases?

The orange bar is a similarity bar that highlights how closely the identified case aligns with the fact scenario you have entered into the Classifier. You can hover over the similarity bar to see which factors from the case were similar to your fact scenario.

How is the explanatory text generated?

Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight's explanatory text is generated automatically by combining your responses to the questions with the machine learning algorithms driving the analysis.

What does the “RESTART” button do?

The “RESTART” button clears all answers and sends you back to the first page of the Classifier so that you can input another fact scenario.

What does the “SAVE” button do?

The “SAVE” button allows you to save the Classification so that you can see and use it again at a later time by accessing “Saved Classifications” in the menu at the top right.

What does the “SHARE” button do?

The “SHARE” button allows you to send your Classification result (in PDF report format - see below) to any email address.

What does the “REPORT” button do?

The “REPORT” button allows you to download a PDF report of your Classification result.

Case Finders

What do Case Finders do?

Case Finders improve on traditional search methods by allowing you to search for relevant cases within a given area of law by facts and outcomes instead of by keywords and citations. You can specify multiple different factors and apply relative weights to each factor in order to match a specific scenario you have in mind. Your results include a list of cases, each with a similarity bar indicating the factors on which the case was matched. Listed cases link directly to public and proprietary case databases, facilitating further review and research. By helping you quickly and accurately find the cases most relevant to your search criteria, Case Finders put you in the best position to perform the most comprehensive and effective legal research.

How do you use Case Finders?

To use a Case Finder, simply identify the area of law that is applicable to your situation and click on the "Case Finder" button. You must select at least one factor on which to search for cases. As you select factors, the list of Matched Cases will update in real-time according to the factors you have selected and the relevance you have placed on those factors using the relevance bar.

What exactly are “Matched Cases”?

The “Matched Cases” are the cases that correspond most closely to the factors you have selected. If you have selected multiple factors for your search, the “Matched Cases” will not necessarily match on all of those factors (see question below). The “Matched Cases” are not necessarily the leading authorities in that area of law, though higher court level decisions will appear closer to the top of the list.

Why are there only 20 Matched Cases?

The purpose of Case Finder is to retrieve cases that align most closely with the fact pattern you are searching for, accurately and efficiently. This is especially important as the cases become less and less similar to your chosen fact pattern as you move down the list of Matched Cases. If you would like the full case list for a specific search result, please contact us.

What is the orange bar beside each Matched Case?

The orange bar is a similarity bar that highlights how closely the identified case aligns to your search criteria. You can hover over the similarity bar to see exactly which factors resulted in each match.

What does the relevance bar do?

The relevance bar beside each filter ranges from “less relevant” to “more relevant.” The relevance bar applies when you have two or more factors selected. You can use the relevance bar to conduct more precise searches. You can put more weight on a given factor by dragging the slider toward “more relevant,” and put less weight on a given factor by dragging the slider toward “less relevant,” The list of Matched Cases will update in real-time to reflect the relative importance you have placed on each factor selected.

What does the “CLEAR” button at the bottom do?

The “CLEAR” button will deselect all factors.

What do Navigators do?

Navigators function as dynamic guides for complex areas of law that are largely based on legislation and the CRA’s administrative guidance. Questions within a Navigator are user-responsive. You are shown one question at a time, and each question depends on your answer to the preceding question. The final result is based on whether the rules have been satisfied and is accompanied by an explanatory memo and links to relevant resources. For example, the Section 85 Election Eligibility Navigator helps you determine whether a disposition of property by a taxpayer to a taxable Canadian corporation is eligible for a rollover on a tax-deferred basis through 

How is the explanatory text generated?

Our software's explanatory text is generated automatically by combining your inputs with the applicable rules driving the analysis.

What does “My History” do? How about “Saved Classification”?

“My history” keeps a record of your past classifications and navigations. The “saved classifications” button keeps a record of the classifications and navigations you have chosen to save and h6 on the “Result” page of those classifications and navigations. These features allow you to keep a record of the files you’ve already run through the system so you can refer to or re-run them later if the need arises. For both of these functions, you can go back and re-run the classifications to see if the result has changed over time as the courts update their reasoning and as statutes are revised.

What does the “RESTART” button do?

The “RESTART” button clears all answers and sends you back to the first page of the Navigator so that you can input another fact scenario.

What does the “SAVE” button do?

The “SAVE” button allows you to save the Navigation so that you can see and use it again at a later time by accessing “Saved Classifications” in the menu at the top right.

What does the “SHARE” button do?

The “SHARE” button allows you to send your Navigation result (in PDF report format – see below) to any email address.

What does the “REPORT” button do?

The “REPORT” button allows you to download a PDF report of your Navigation result.

Underlying technology and methodology

Tax Foresight / Employment and the law

Does the software provide legal advice?

No. Lawyers provide legal advice. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight are next-generation legal research tools that tax and employment professionals use to help inform their professional judgment. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight do not provide legal advice.

I am representing a client and a government representative has said that my client will not be successful in court based on a Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight result. What should I do?

We recommend always running your own independent analysis using Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight so that you have an improved understanding of the strength of your client’s position.

What happens if the law changes? How will the software handle it?

As new cases are decided by the courts, they are added to the datasets used to train Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight. The machine learning algorithms will learn the changes to the law and the software's predictions will incorporate the new information. The Navigators are also updated regularly to reflect legislative changes when they occur.

Do you keep the software up to date and include the latest cases?

Yes. Every year, the courts release thousands of new tax and employment law judgments. We regularly monitor the case law and add new cases to keep the system current.

Does the software consider the different levels of courts?

Yes. Our software analyzes the judgments of different levels of courts, and learns from the judgments handed down by these courts. Our software uses sophisticated statistical methods known as “machine learning” to identify patterns in the volumes of case law produced by all applicable courts in Canada.

How does the software's algorithm account for overruled or reversed cases?

Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight will consider the result from the highest court to decide a particular dispute. For example, if a Tax Court of Canada ruling is reversed on appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, then the software will be trained on the judgment from the Federal Court of Appeal.

Are French cases included in Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight?

Many - but not all - French cases have been included in the software. We will continue to add French judgments to ensure that the system is drawing upon as much information as possible in order to make accurate predictions.

Does the government have access to Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight? Will the CRA be using these tools?

Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight are available to tax and employment professionals in both the private and public sector.

What happens if the CRA or the court disagrees with my interpretation of the facts?

One of the principal roles of a trial judge is to examine the evidence before the court, including witness testimony, documents, and affidavits, and to then make determinations regarding the facts. Supporting your views with appropriate evidence will help to ensure that the judge has all the information necessary to reach accurate conclusions with respect to the facts. A powerful use of the software is to test how a judge might decide in the context of variations of the facts as you perceive them.

Machine learning

What does this system do?

Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight collect and analyze the facts and findings from thousands of cases to predict what a court would hold in new circumstances.

How does the algorithm arrive at the answer?

Our software uses sophisticated statistical methods known as “machine learning” to identify relationships between individual factors and outcomes in previous court decisions to make clear the hidden patterns in case law that even the most experienced lawyers struggle to quantify precisely. The machine learning algorithms themselves reflect how judges weigh various aspects in thousands of court decisions.

Can you guarantee the accuracy of your system’s predictions?

In the future, we may consider offering to guarantee a prediction in exchange for a guarantee fee. Currently, however, we do not.

You say that the system is 90% accurate. How do you know?

We follow industry-wide best practices in training our machine learning models. This involves partitioning data into “training” and “evaluation” sets. We train our system using part of the data, and then evaluate how well it has learned using the reserved data. Moreover, we continually evaluate our system’s ability to predict the outcome of new cases as they are decided and we add them as new cases into the system.

Worries and feedback

I don’t like the answer that Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight produced. What can I do?

If the issue is that you disagree with the prediction, please provide that feedback from the result page. This will help us to make our software better. If the issue is that the result is not helpful to your client, you should consider going back through the questions to see if you can make a case for responding to one or more of the questions differently. If so, you can compute again and see if the result is more agreeable for your client.

What happens if I rely on the software and the answer it gives is incorrect?

Our software is meant to be an additional research resource for professionals seeking to make informed judgments. Much like human tax advisors and employment lawyers, Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight will not make perfect predictions. Tax and employment professionals using the software in combination with their own informed professional judgment will make better predictions than unaided professionals.

How do Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight benefit me by reducing time spent on a file, when I charge hourly?

All professionals aspire to give the best possible advice to their clients. This takes time. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight allow professionals to spend their time as productively as possible to provide outstanding advice, including exploring variations on the client’s facts and providing legal risk assessments and sensitivity analyses. Knowing the relative strength of their case, professionals and their clients can proceed confidently or cautiously as the circumstances dictate

Why would a client pay me to use this system when they could pay for access themselves and get their own answers?

Using Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight appropriately requires exercising professional judgment in presenting information to the system. Particular Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight results are based on the information provided by the user. Moreover, professionals bring to bear their own experience and judgment to the predictions made by Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight, which would be missing if a client relied on Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight directly. For these reasons, the software is currently being marketed directly to tax and employment professionals.

Is there any way to verify whether Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight's reasoning is correct when I get an answer?

The only way to truly verify the correctness of the software's reasoning is to take a case to court and have a judge officially render judgment. Short of this, the usual methods of legal research can be used to assess the reasonability of the software's answer. A great place to start is to examine the similar cases and references identified on the results page.

I don’t believe that judicial judgment can be predicted in this way. Machines can’t think like judges. How can the software deal with the nuances of real life cases?

Machines have learned to play chess, Jeopardy, and Go better than the very best human players. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight can synthesize the lessons from a vast body of case law in a manner different from how human lawyers approach the law. The software is useful to the extent that it can bring its special advantages to bear on the problem at hand - predicting how judges will decide new cases. Our experience suggests that it is very good at this.

Are you trying to replace lawyers and accountants?

No, we are not trying to replace lawyers and accountants. Lawyers and accountants are our happy customers and biggest fans. We are producing tools that make professionals better. Using Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight, professionals will make fewer mistakes, identify weaknesses in their clients’ cases more quickly, and can do the work necessary to shore up those weaknesses. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight make the law clearer with positive implications for the rule of law, including greater transparency and access to justice. Our tools facilitate access to justice because lawyers and accountants can be more confident about advising their clients of the wisdom of settling on particular terms

Are these tools going to be made available to the public?

Our software is currently being marketed to tax and employment professionals on an annual subscription basis. If you are a tax or employment professional who would like to learn more about the system and how it will be of value in your work, please visit our pages Tax Foresight or Employment Foresight.

Safety and privacy

How much of the information I input into Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight is stored? For how long? What is it used for?

To continue to improve the product and for your future reference, we store information in the system indefinitely. This information is used as a resource for users to return to their own past Classifications should the need arise. We also use aggregated information to assist us in improving the predictions of the software and to enhance the user experience. The system never prompts for client identifying information and users should not enter such information into the system.

Can the government request access to the Classifications that I save on the system? Will the CRA (or anyone else) have access to any of the software's data collected from customers?

Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight are legal research tools that users consult to understand how the courts might decide a case with certain facts. Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight queries are by their very nature generic and do not necessarily relate to an actual case or client. The system never prompts for client identifying information and users should not enter such information into the system. To date we have never disclosed any user information to any third party and we will take legal measures to defend against disclosure of Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight information if necessary. In the future, we will only disclose if we are legally obligated to do so.

Is information submitted to Tax Foresight / Employment Foresight privileged?

The software's Classifications may not be privileged, not least because Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight queries are by their very nature generic and do not necessarily relate to an actual case or client. The system never prompts for client identifying information and users should not enter such information into the system. To date we have never disclosed any user information to any third party and we will take legal measures to defend against disclosure of Tax Foresight and Employment Foresight information if necessary. In the future, we will only disclose if we are legally obligated to do so.

Pricing and miscellaneous

How much does Tax Foresight cost? What about Employment Foresight?

The cost of the products will vary depending on factors such as type of organization and number of users. Please call us at (800) 607-6105 or email us at for specific pricing details.

I’m having technical difficulties. What do I do?

Please contact our support staff and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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