“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” said Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Taxes indeed play a fundamental role in citizens’ lives. Thankfully, with tax services going digital, the process has become a whole lot easier.

But as digitalisation occurs, how can governments ensure tax systems are ready for the massive amount of transactions and data? Sheldon Wang, President of Huawei Global Customs and Tax Industries, shares his insights. 

The latest in e-taxes

Tech has transformed tax, especially in the pandemic, says Wang. AI and big data are beginning to reshape the way nations file taxes.

Singapore’s tax agency, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, has used RPA to quickly process income tax-relief payments for citizens during Covid-19. The team has also built chatbots to simplify tax payments for taxi and private-hire drivers, its Director (Service Experience Centre), Taxpayer Services Division, told GovInsider.

The Australian Taxation Office is also using AI and automation to streamline officers’ work and improve productivity, said Marek Rucinski, its Deputy Commissioner of the Smarter Data Programme.

Performance and reliability matters

But as more tax services go digital, and more data is collected, agencies also face more challenges, says Wang.

More than 80 per cent of tax payment services have shifted to online tax filing channels, which can bring a huge pressure on the tax system and result in slow tax filing response and poor experiences, he adds.

In one of the countries in Europe, about 40,000 tax filing requests are processed every day. This number grows to 400,000 during peak periods – putting huge pressure on tax service systems. Any disruption would cause immense inconveniences.

Tax agencies are also collecting data from multiple sources today, from social media and other agencies. This massive amount of data can take hours to analyse, Wang says. If any issues occur, the process would have to restart – making it difficult to ensure that reports are created in time for tax directors to review.

Agencies need to ensure services stay online 24/7 and are responsive to taxpayer enquiries, he emphasises.

Powering reliable tax services

Huawei is working with various tax authorities to help them stay on top of the rapid digitalisation of the tax industry. Its Oceanstor Dorado all-flash storage, a leader in performance and reliability in the industry, stores and transfers data much quicker than traditional disk-based storage systems. It also ensures tax services are not disrupted and stay online 24/7, Wang says.

This has been particularly useful in a South American country, which saw the number of e-invoices increase by 20 times from 2015 to 2018. Huawei worked with the country to eliminate delays in collecting invoices and data processing bottlenecks, and allow officers to monitor transactions in real time.

To date, Huawei storage products have served more than 15,000 customers from various industries, Wang says. Huawei’s customers include tax agency and government’s finance department, as well as 47 banks in global top 100.

Going digital isn’t a silver bullet that instantly promises great services. Tax agencies need the right tools to prepare their systems for the wave of e-transactions.

For more information, please visit Huawei storage product page.

Photos courtesy of Huawei.