Government to invest in €3 million advanced program to facilitate checks on tax filings

Last Updated on Tuesday, 9 May, 2023 at 11:35 am by Andre Camilleri

The government is to invest €3 million in an advanced program in order to facilitate checks on the tax filings of individuals and businesses, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Tuesday.

The Minister announced this during the presentation of the strategic plan for the Malta Tax and Customs Administration strategy.

He explained that this new program, which he described as being of advanced technology, follows the steps taken in other countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Caruana said that this new technology will cut the time taken for tax checks, which currently usually take days or even months. He said that thanks to the registrations which the government has, this new program will run checks on a daily basis on the wealth of individuals and businesses and will compare it to the amount of taxes filed.

In giving an example, the minister said if a person were to file taxes on a piece of land which cost around €1 million, the system would ascertain that the amount due is given by comparing the taxes which have been filed to the wealth which the individual has registered.

This €3 million investment forms part of the presented strategic plan the administration of taxes and customs between 2023 and 2025.

“This is the change in culture we need”, the Minister said, whilst also referring to late tax payments, adding that this ensures that checks are not done just “when an anonymous letter is filed.”

He said that a change in culture can already start to be seen as during last year, an effort on the VAT collection front rendered an increased income of €240 million.

The Tax and Customs Administration seeks to gather several previous authorities under one roof.

The creation of the Office of the Commissioner for Revenue in 2012, and the enactment of the Commissioner for Revenue Act that same year, marked a major shift in Malta’s tax administration.

It established the legal framework for integrated revenue collection under the direct responsibility of the Commissioner for Revenue (CfR), replacing the decades-long arrangement where this function was spread across multiple directorates.

The minister said that this new department is responsible for 92.5% of the whole government’s income. Thus “we need to ascertain that what is due to the government is paid, so that we can give the people the level of service they deserve.”

Caruana said that this new strategy implies two things: making better use of existing revenue – ‘doing more with less’, and ensuring that all tax dues are collected when they are due.

He added that as the Minister for Finance, it is his responsibility to keep educating businesses and individual taxpayers to put an end to the mindset of delayed payments and systematic non-compliance, for the sake of ”good governance and fairness.”

On his part, Commissioner for Revenue Joseph Caruana said that the organisation will be investing heavily in transforming its technology infrastructure to prepare the foundations for real-time reporting.

“This investment will support our work and provide a better service to our clients”.

He said that by making greater use of Business Intelligence and developing the application of advanced analytics, the office will be able to harbour new ideas and approaches to compliance, predict future trends, and help better tailor compliance interventions for the best results.

Mentioning the strategy, the Commissioner said that “this transformation” will also allow for improvements in the organisation’s workplace to make it more accountable to deal with the new responsibilities outlined in the plan.

“I want to see the organisation break down the silos that exist within some parts of it and truly achieve a unified tax and customs revenue organisation,” he said.

Present for the press conference was also Andja Komso on behalf of the International monetary fund, which is an organisation which supports economic policies that promote financial stability and monetary cooperation, which are essential to increase the creation of jobs and the stability of the economy.

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