The TRA embarked on the corporate income tax returns electronic filing system (e-filing system) in August 2020. Tax systems modernization is the centerpiece of the TRA's vision of virtually paperless tax processing to optimize operations and better serve taxpayers. Introduction of the e-filing system has enabled the online filing of returns, reducing physical movement of taxpayers from their offices to the TRA.
The introduction of the e-filing system has saved costs, reduced the paper work and the workload of the TRA officers who are involved in handling the hard copy files, as well taxpayers who had to store the hard copy files and generally reduced the printing cost. For the environmentalist, less paperwork has also been a boon for conservation. Some statisticians actually argue that 14% of deforestation is caused by global demand for paper goods. Also of importance, is that the introduction of the e-filing system has minimized chances of misplacing or losing valuable information, which would previously be stored in hard copy files.
Whilst the above-mentioned advantages are admirable, the management and technical weaknesses of the e-filing system must be corrected as quickly as possible so that the efficiency goals are met, and accurate reporting is achieved.
The TRA will be prudent to collect and analyze data on challenges experienced by taxpayers when using the e-filing system. This data can be used as feedback on assessing the performance of the e-filing system for the purpose of improving it.
If the feedback on challenges experienced by the taxpayers is dealt with accordingly, it is my belief that the quality of the e-filing system will improve and become more user-friendly and reliable.
The writer is a tax consultant at Deloitte Consulting, Christopher Mwanilwa (firstname.lastname@example.org). The views expressed represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Deloitte.