Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tax Cheetah! Wolters Kluwer Unveils New Research Platform for Tax Practitioners: Responsive Design and Personalization Rule!

Today Wolters Kluwer Law and Business is announcing the release of  “Cheetah for Tax.” Ben Snipes the Product Line Director for Tax provided me with a preview of the new platform. The Cheetah Tax Product has a clean intuitive look and  offers a boatload of new functionality.  The U.S. tax code has been the rigid backbone of all prior tax products. That backbone is this there, Cheetah also offers flexible alternative approaches to research. Cheetah offers a high level personalization as well as a variety of options for search, navigation and display.

Today’s press release quotes Dean Sonderegger, Vice President & GM, Legal Markets Group:  “With Cheetah we built a platform that is specifically designed to support the attorney workflow and we will continue to add new capabilities and practice areas to this platform to help a new generation of attorneys re-envision the way they work.”

The Code Rules CCH has held a firm grip on Tax research for over 150 years. When CCH launched their original tax product in 1913, it was considered rather revolutionary, offering weekly news of  regulatory updates (by mail.)  For most of that time the Internal Revenue Code was the central organizing principle of all tax research. Wolters Kluwer/CHH has been chasing the right technology for decades. They migrated from the multi-volume print  Standard Federal Tax Reporter, to cd-rom, to online dial-up , to web based (and much maligned) Intelliconnect and now Cheetah for Tax.

Cheetah for Tax  is the second product to launch on the Cheetah platform.  The Securities law product was released in 2015. Cheetah is not a revision of Intelliconnect—It is a whole new platform. The Cheetah team took the 7.5 million tax documents from Intelliconnect and de-duped,  re-coded and enriched each document with meta data. A major goal was to move beyond the book paradigm and allow lawyers to cluster  all related content, no matter where it was originally published.

Although tax lawyers can continue or organize their research around tax code sections, in Cheetah they have many more options. Topic, Entity type (LLC, partnerships, nonprofits etc.), jurisdiction, subject can be selected for inclusion on a personalized “home page” or used as filters.
The Cheetah Home Page - Before Personalization
Cool Tools: Cheetah is loaded with new functionality:

  • ·         There is prominent citation search box in the right corner.
  • ·         Content includes, primary law, analysis, legislative history  and news.
  • ·         All of the Smartcharts have been migrated.
  •        All of a subscribers content can be accessed from home page.
  • ·         Customize the page to see only what you want. Select code sections, topics and jurisdictions of importance to you.What you use will be there in one click.
  • ·         All the quick reference tools are in the same location on each page.
  • ·         Red envelope – give feedback. Send your recommendations directly to Editor Ben Snipes.
  • ·         Seach across all subscribed content: federal, international and state and local.
  • ·         International content covers 270 jurisdictions which can be both searched and compared by country using “smart charts.”.
  • ·         Entity type search allows a lawyer to focus on tax impact on an LLC, partnership a corporation, nonprofit?
  • ·         “Content flags” Tell you clearly what kind of content you are looking at e.g. a statute, a temporary regulation, a treatise. This feature assures that a new lawyer always understands what kind of document they are reviewing. It clearly shows which documents have the force of law and which are interpretive.
  • ·         A-Z lists are coming so lawyers can navigate to a specific titles.
International Smartcharts

Existing Subscribers: All Intelliconnect subscribers will have the option to migrate to Cheetah or remain on the Intelliconnect platform. They will see all the same CCH and Aspen content which was availableto them  on Intelliconnect.

Will Cheetah entice the majority of print Standard Federal Tax Reporter subscribers to give up their books?  Since Cheetah  will offer both the code structure and  topical research, they  will now be clearly in direct competition with  RIA Checkpoint from Thomson Reuters which offers a topical approach to tax research. Will more tax lawyers be willing to go will a single online source since Cheetah offers both topical and code views?

Wolters Kluwer along with their competitors, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and BloombergBNA are in a fierce competition to control practitioners desktops by offering not only content but workflow enhancements.The winners are the lawyers who can count on the continuing development of faster, better and more integrated desktop tools like Cheetah.

More information at: Cheetah For Tax Law

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