In light of isolation measures adopted by many countries vis-à - vis the world coronavirus pandemic, we now see both the public and the private sector attempting to digitize themselves quickly.We face a reckless contest to digitize all their processes as a matter of urgency and therefore be able to continue to offer services or sell goods.
There is a needfor digitalization of tax administration (TAs), which is currently facing a major challenge but also an excellent opportunity to make sure that all of the processes are digitized.
This digital transformation will be seen as an integral part of the concept of digital governance in the delivery of services.
The digital government is characterized by digitization of public services, the extensive use of public and personal data, introducing process automation algorithms, and supporting the development of artificial intelligence applications to automate the functions and activities of the public sector.
The digitization of governments, as has been described, is a challenge. These features were also shared by others who had already adjusted to the Internet. The most important thing is to build small, multidisciplinary digital devices, to position them at the centre of public service and to allow freedom to operate in new ways. Such tools were developed to provide solutions that meet the needs of users.
Presently, TAs are trying to digitize and to enter what is referred to as electronic administration, which involves numerous organized elements: technology, rules, and models of management.
"To use ICT within public administration and to combine organizational and new skills to enhance public and democratic processes in order to promote support for public policies" implies the idea of E-Government, which is described by the European Commission.
But all this has significant impacts, as one of the most important advantages of electronic administration can be listed as possible:
The main benefits of betting on TAs digitization is to promote accountability, which is crucial to combating corruption.
The OECD, along with many other organizations and countries, are working on the issue of electronic government, and have issued a Recommendation(1) with the purpose of supporting the development and implementation of digital government strategies to enable governments to be closer to the public and business.
In this respect, it is recognized that modern technology is not just a strategic promoter of public sector efficiency, they also can help policy effectiveness and build more open, efficient, innovative, participatory, and effective governments.
On these issues, it should be noted that recently, the governments of the world as a result of the coronavirus have authorized temporary organizational measures for state employees, one of them being teleworking.
Teleworking has multiple perks for both workforce and TAs. They include greater autonomy, flexibility, and mobility, reconciling work with family life, reducing stress, reducing travel with the resulting reduction in pollution in large cities, and savings in office costs, among others.
Teleworking is a job performed remotely using ICT to sell goods or offer services to the world. The ICTs needed for these tasks include, but are not limited to, PCs, the Internet, cell phones, telephones, and digital cameras. This mainly includes web browsing and e-mail within the Internet. And on a case, blogs, websites, translation software, instant messaging (chat), and IP telephony (voIP).
Let’s look into the difficulties that TAs are currently experiencing as a result of coronavirus and the urgent implementation without due planning for teleworking.
In this regard, he is persuaded that the more advanced the method of digitizing the TA, the less the inconveniences that need to be encountered.
A common issue in many countries is the digitization and coaching of taxpayers and TA officials in the use of new ICTs, especially in generations not yet familiar with digitization.
It is not a simple task, and much less so when it has had to be accelerated, as in the given circumstances.
From the perspective of TA workers, one may list, among others, the following problems arising from the coronavirus outbreak and the need for teleworking:
From the point of view of taxpayers, in addition to the matter of significant financial and economic difficulties in fulfilling their tax obligations, if we find the relationship with the TAs, the following difficulties arise, among others:
But what happens to telework in the Tax Administrations (TAs) after the end of the COVID-19 restrictions. That is, to evaluate its potential.
The following factors, among others, should be considered when evaluating the potential continuation of telework:
Undoubtedly, this is also a key issue; this requires an overview of the laws in force in each country with respect to teleworking.
According to a recent IDB document in Latin America and the Caribbean, some nations, such as Colombia, have more advanced legislation. Telework is regulated as "distance work" in some countries, such as Chile. In other countries, such as Mexico, it is governed as a modality of "home-based work," defined by the use of ICT, while in Colombia and Peru, the legislation makes clear reference to the term telework.
As far as Europe is concerned, the European Framework Agreement on Telework was signed in Brussels in July 2002 and different countries have made progress in their legislation.
The IDB document referred to sets out some of the requirements that must be considered when regulating telework, such as:
A written contract which includes the rights and obligations
Fair treatment as teleworkers must have the same rights and benefits as face-to-face workers, such as social security and fair rights.
Wilfulness and reversibility or, that is, the face-to-face staff who are teleworkers have the right to reverse the condition and to return to face-to-face service.
Equipment and associated costs should be provided by the employers, although the parties may agree that the teleworker will use their own equipment to compensate for the costs.
Security and health of the teleworkers is the responsibility of the employer.
Work shifts may be subject to different approaches, such as excluding telework from the limitation of work shifts to the organization of work schedules within certain limits.
Telework modalities can be permanent when telework is conducted during the shift, or in part when telework is combined with face-to-face work.
Classification as subordinate work or autonomous work.
Specifically, this is concerned with determining whether to carry out the task via telework implies greater or less productivity for the TA in question.
Any research made during the current time of confinement must be distinguished from various considerations which should not be considered after the end of the pandemic, as, for example, research with children and the whole family is carried out at home.
Some views say that command is not the way to maximize the efficiency of individuals, and this is illustrated in everyday practice. It is also said that more hours are worked than when the job is done in the face-to-face mode.
Hyper-connectivity and its negative impact on the harmonization of family and working life is a growing concern for teleworkers. Several European countries have already proposed legislation on this issue, but little progress has been made in Latin America and the Caribbean in this regard.
Several surveys, among them that of the ILO – Eurofund, highlight the rise in productivity as a benefit for employees and companiesand point out studies carried out in different countries.
There is a great deal to be studied in this respect and would most definitely entail very detailed studies specific to TAs, with regard not only to efficiencybut also to the management control of any function or method to be carried out by telework.
This means an analysis of the human and material resources available for teleworking.
The level of digital technology of the functions, processes, and tasks of the TA, as well as of the country concerned, must be verified.
It will be necessary to analyse whether, for example, procedures or tasks can be presented in digital form and processed through digital files, digital signatures, and notified through electronic tax domiciles.
Another key issue is the diagnosis of TA 's human resources, in particular the determination of whether staff is not familiar with digitization, in which case appropriate training and development actions will be needed.
Leading remote teams is a complex task, totally different from face-to-face. It is therefore important to determine whether there are profiles of teleworkers capable of adapting themselves, with full awareness of the modality and the opportunities it generates.
The degree of digitalization in the country is very critical. That is how advanced the issue of electronic governance is, as well as the essential technical requirements, such as Internet connectivity, equipment, and ICTs available at home.
The ILO – Eurofund report referred to above notes that the incidence of telework relates not only to technological advances in the different countries but also to current economic structures and working cultures.
Finally, it is vital to analyze how computerized and familiar taxpayers are with the digital world in order to communicate electronically with TAs, as well as to take into account the level of informality, in such a way as to make digitization processes evidently difficult.
Currently, TA involves the administration of information, and hence the protection and confidentiality of the information available in the TAs is an extremely key question, which is a fundamental pillar of the tax system, and for which reason there must be an assurance that such information will not be revealed in an undue manner.
This issue is being legislated in all countries. If TA officials disclose or disseminate information about any taxpayer they have acquired in the performance of their duties, they shall be classified as an offense.
Telework outside the tax administration office poses new and important challenges. It is therefore essential that the same procedures, processes, and controls are applied as in the case of face-to-face work and that the relevant changes are made to cover all risks as appropriate.
For example, it is important to review the policy on remote access, access registration, and control, authentication mechanisms, use of public networks, digital signatures, audits and controls to be carried out to ensure confidentiality and security of information.
An important aspect to consider is whether, in order to carry out the telework, officials are required to transfer to their homes the files or the paper documents in the offices, with subsequent risks involved, such as thefts, deterioration, or loss of documents.
As final ideas, digitalization is important today, more than ever in and through TAs, they should be better positioned to boost their efficiency and effectiveness in the fight against fraud, to provide better services to people, to reduce enforcement costs, to encourage accountability (against corruption) and always to respect the rights of taxpayers.
At present, we are at a historical moment in the digitization process of the public and private sectors. It was necessarily accelerated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
On the one hand, those TAs that are more digitized are able to execute their functions more easily and to fulfil their tasks more effectively.
On the other hand, those TAs who are not yet digitized, even though they seek to solve their difficulties on a daily basis, I understand that they will learn the lesson of how important it is to bet on digitization.
Whether telework will continue in the Tax Administrations, there is a simple answer, nor can it be standard for all TAs or all their tasks and processes and much less all their workers and/or taxpayer segments."
All seem to say that telework is here to live in our TAs, in many cases mixing it with face-to-face operations.
The future will surely find us all the more digitalized, and this is perhaps one of the positive lessons that we will have learned in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Source of Reference
 “The future of work in Latin America and the Caribbean: how to guarantee workers’ rights in the digital era? From IDB https://publications.iadb.org/es/el-futuro-del-trabajo-en-america-latina-y-el-caribe-como-garantizar-los-derechos-de-los-0
 For more information, see https://www.teletrabajo.gov.co/622/w3-channel.html
 Quarantine debunks a myth: teleworking showed that control does not increase productivity. https://www.iproup.com/innovacion/13210-teletrabajo-mostro-que-el-control-no-incrementa-la-productividad
 France and Spain were pioneers in creating legislation on digital disconnection (Law N° 2016-1088 and the 2018 Law on the Protection of Data and Guarantee of Digital Rights, respectively).
 OIT Eurofund – Working at any time and in any place: consequences in the working sphere. 2019. The report synthesizes the research carried out by the network of European correspondents of Eurofund in ten member States of the EU –Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain– and ILO consultants Argentina, Brazil, India, Japan and the United States.
 Idem note 6
 For example, article 114 of the CIAT Model Tax Code provides that the confidentiality of the equity data of the individuals is guaranteed through provisions included in the Code which provides for secrecy of the information entering the TA and a penalties system for the officials and entities using it for purposes other than the collection ad examination of the taxes.
(10) To expand this topic, we recommend that you review the recent book: ICT as a Strategic Tool to Leapfrog the Efficiency of Tax Administrations/ 2020 which deals with various aspects of security of the information.
(11) By way of example, the telework legislation in Colombia provides different recommendations on cybersecurity. https://www.teletrabajo.gov.co/622/w3-article-126328.html
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