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Rethinking Tax Services

The Changing Role of Tax Service Providers in SME Tax Compliance

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The landscape of tax services, traditionally provided by parties such as tax advisors, accountants and other tax practitioners, is changing, thanks to new technologies and services such as online accounting and filing, mobile devices, and machine-to-machine communication. This may lead to more integrated tax systems, in which taxation is part of the day-to-day operations of SMEs. This report provides an overview of relevant technological and business developments and new service solutions. It also explores how these influence SMEs, tax service providers and tax administrations – and the way that they co-operate. Tax administrations can adopt different types of network strategies for co-operating with tax service providers. The report identifies four basic network strategies. In countries without an established tax service provider infrastructure, such as developing and emerging economies, leveraging new technologies (such as online services and mobile payment) may create new possibilities for providing infrastructure that is both beneficial for SMEs and promotes tax compliance.

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Finding and implementing a tax service provider strategy

The developments discussed in this report present tax administrations with challenges and dilemmas. The shifts in the market of tax service providers bring opportunities to better serve the taxpayer and improve tax compliance. Tax administrations need to consider their strategies: allowing a strong role for the tax services industry, or focusing more on strengthening the direct relationship with SMEs – enabled by the same technological developments that are reshaping the market of tax service providers. This chapter aims to provide guidance on how tax administrations can develop and implement a TSP strategy with TSPs and how this can be put into action. It also discusses the technical, legal and organisational conditions that are important to make such a strategy work.

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