Overview of Tax Administrations: structure; income, resources and personnel; operation and digitalization ISORA (International Survey on Revenue Administrations)

This new publication summarizes some of the most relevant information contained in the ISORA survey (International Survey on Revenue Administrations) for the last available year (2017). They review the institutional structure, organization and autonomy of Tax Administrations (TAs), their income, resources and personnel, and basic characteristics of their operation, with particular attention to the digitalization of the Tax Administrations (taxpayer segmentation, registration channels, return filing and payment; provision of electronic services, electronic invoicing systems; tax arrears; audit results).

ISORA is the result of joint efforts by the IMF, IOTA, OECD, ADB and CIAT, a single, homogeneous survey of domestic revenue administrations that complements and continues the efforts already made in this area in previous years -BID, CAPTAC-RD, CIAT (2012); CIAT (2016); “Tax Administration Comparative Information Series” OECD since 2004, the IMF RA-FIT platform, etc. It keeps information on tax administrations from 159 countries representing 90.37% of world GDP and 88.5% of the total world population in 2017 (more than 6,600 million people). Among them are 37 CIAT member countries, accounting for 39% of GDP and 37.1% of the population.

After a brief introduction to coverage and history of ISORA, the content is organized into three chapters and discuss the results of the survey, summarized in 45 tables and 22 graphs which offer information aggregated by groups of countries (depending on their income level) and individually for the CIAT member countries.

In particular, regarding CIAT member countries, the results show the significant progress of the organization’s TAs. These administrations, with a high degree of autonomy and despite having relatively modest budgets, manage their operation with low costs in relation to their collection (the average cost stood at 1.24%, superior only to the average recorded in high-income countries) even having a workforce that face a heavy workload in relative terms.

This is facilitated by the technological breakthrough that is reflected in the survey data:

  • CIAT countries exceed the average adoption of IC technologies through applications and register the lowest percentage of the “paper” option.

  • Availability and mandatory electronic filing is widespread in all tax figures, especially in global form (affecting all taxpayers); this implementation is above the global average and, except in the case of CIT, above the average of high-income countries. In this area, the CIAT member countries generally have the lowest percentages of paper use and the highest in implementation of electronic declaration, with several countries where one hundred percent of the returns are electronically presented (Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, Peru and Portugal).

  • They show high implementation of digital channels, online payment reaching up to 60% of the total value of payments received, the highest aggregate percentage of countries considered. In the individualized data by country, we can see that this percentage increased to levels higher than 80% in Argentina, Bermuda, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Netherlands (in the last two, 100% payments are made online).

  • As for the introduction of digital services, the results surpass even the percentages of high-income countries in areas such as incorporating tools on websites (89.2%), electronic invoicing (35.1%) or mailbox e (86.5%). By country, several of them have implanted all the technologies analyzed (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Italy, Peru, Portugal or Spain.

  • The leadership of the CIAT countries is especially noteworthy in the implementation of the electronic invoicing and its use in the field of compliance monitoring -in 86.7% of cases- and preparation of pre-filled returns -a 40% on average-. Some cases are highlighted, such as Mexico or Chile, where the information is used for all the analyzed purposes of compliance monitoring analyzed and prefilled returns.

For TAs, ISORA provides a framework for identifying strengths, weaknesses and best practices, both globally and by income level or geographic areas. We hope that in the future ISORA will keep helping to identify outstanding issues for global TAs and in particular the CIAT member countries.


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Disclaimer. Readers are informed that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, organization, committee or other group the author might be associated with, nor to the Executive Secretariat of CIAT. The author is also responsible for the precision and accuracy of data and sources.

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