Tax collection in the age of digital

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September 21, 2021

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Over the last year, public services have touched far more people’s lives as governments act to protect people’s incomes and health. But only one interaction with government remains a (nearly) universal experience: that of paying taxes. In most countries, tax calculation and collection comprise the civil service’s highest-volume transactions – so any efficiency gains can produce big benefits for both governments and citizens.

Hence the rapid progress on digitalising and automating tax returns. Often drawing in data via automated links with public and private sector bodies, digital tax services can reduce errors, tackle fraud and squeeze the ‘grey economy’. By feeding validated information directly into finance departments’ IT systems, they can reduce administrative costs – helping to keep people’s tax bills down. And by pre-populating forms and automating processes, they can dramatically ease the user experience: in Estonia, about 95% of personal tax returns take just five minutes of the citizen’s time.

There is no single solution here. Estonia’s tax platform gathers data directly from government departments and banks, for example, while the UK has supported the development of a market in approved, API-linked accounting software. But most governments have similar goals, and countries have much to learn from one another on issues such as data collection, fraud prevention, process transformation and security. At this Global Government Forum webinar, experts from national governments and the private sector explored the issues around transforming and digitising tax systems – identifying the main challenges and discussing the policies, capabilities and systems required to overcome them.


Hishamudin Mohamed, Director of Corporate Services, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia

Hishamudin Mohamed has been serving IRBM for over 30 years in numerous capacities. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honours from the National University of Malaysia in 1988. Hishamudin started his career as an Assistant Director in 1991, working at various branches for over 11 years before given a bigger responsibility to perform at Corporate Services Division in the Head Office. Following his 3 years tenure at the Corporate Services Division, Hishamudin was then promoted as the Principal Assistant Director serving in the Northern Branch before assuming the role of Branch Director in 2 main branches located in East Malaysia till 2015.

Prior to his current position, Hishamudin was assigned and given greater task to lead a big branch in Kuala Lumpur till October 2018. His vast years of experience in dealing with branch operational challenges had made his path to be appointed as the State Director for the Northern Region of Peninsular Malaysia from November 2018 till end of December 2019. In 2020 till present, Hishamudin carries important roles and responsibilities as the Corporate Services Department Director in the Head Office. He oversees the entire organizational services operation and the key components incorporated in the media and public relations, tax education and advisory as well as customer communication via IRBM’s HASiL Call centre. He also had attended the Strategic Branding and Leadership Program organized by the Oxford University in 2019. Recently Hishamudin has been awarded a certificate of completion for Strategic Leadership in Enhancing Personal Effectiveness from Harvard Kennedy School, Executive Education,
Harvard University.

Amanda Green, Partner, IBM

Amanda Green is a Partner in IBM’s services business with over 30 years consulting experience across tax and revenue agencies globally including the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Treasury and Department of Finance, New Zealand Inland Revenue Department, and Malaysian Inland Revenue Board. She understands the practical challenges of effecting wholesale organisational transformation underpinned by technology. She currently runs a 100+ person team focused on delivery of a mission critical B2G channel to the Australian Taxation Office. Originally from the UK and now living in Australia, Amanda has lived and worked in more than 30 countries across the globe including Brazil, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Romania, Spain, Denmark and the USA. She leads IBM’s global special interest group in tax and revenue agencies.

Andja Komso, Technical Assistance Advisor, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Andja Komso is a Technical Assistance Advisor in the Revenue Administration division of the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department. Prior to joining the Fund in 2020, she worked for the Fund for more than eight years as a short-term expert in Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Europe. She has more than 30 years of experiences, gathered in the private sector and Slovenian tax authorities in various management positions in creating and leading large national reform programs focusing on the digital transformation of public services through business processes reengineering and organizational development.

Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.

Sami Koskinen, Director, Stakeholder Relations, Customer Relations Unit, Finnish Tax Administration, Finland

Sami Koskinen has worked in international corporate taxation and transfer pricing for over 20 years, both in private and public sectors. He has also served as a fiscal counsellor for the Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union in Brussels. He is currently employed by the Finnish Tax Administration as a director on stakeholder relations.