The making of a good e-tax system

Technology is influencing our lives and continues to change the way we do things from the simple day to day activities to the complex and less routine tasks. It is difficult today to imagine that we once lived in a world without Social Media like Facebook, without Search Engines like Google, without Smart phones or Tablets and so on. Interestingly that was the world we lived until as recent as 13 years ago.

The impact of technology can be seen and felt in every area of our lives from commerce to entertainment, education, communications, healthcare, defense and taxation. According to the World Bank and PwC Paying Taxes Report 2013, sixty six economies had fully implemented electronic filing and payment of taxes as at 2010. Twenty of them adopted the system in the past 7 years.

An electronic system for filing and paying taxes, if implemented well and used by most taxpayers, benefits both tax authorities and taxpayers. For tax authorities, electronic filing lightens the workload and reduces operational costs – such as the costs of processing, storing and handling tax returns. At the same time, it increases tax compliance and saves time. For taxpayers, electronic filing saves time by reducing calculation errors on tax returns and making it easier to prepare, file and pay taxes. And both government and taxpayers benefit from a reduction in potential incidents of corruption, which are more likely to occur with more frequent contact with tax administration staff.