1999-2000 Annual Report, Inland Revenue Department
During the year under review, particular emphasis was placed on both enhancing the services we offer taxpayers and improving the efficiency with which we administer the law. Where possible, advances in information technology have been adopted to help achieve these objectives.
In recent years, the Department has introduced a wide range of services allowing taxpayers to electronically pay their tax bills. These have proved to be increasingly popular with the public, presumably because of the convenience they offer through 24-hour access and the fact that they do away with the need to queue. Further developments took place during the year. In particular, payments became possible through the Internet, either by using the "PPS on Internet" or the "JETCO Virtual ATM". To help promote confidence in the electronic payment methods, the Department pledged to issue a receipt within 7 working days of a payment being made.
Reflecting the trend in the commercial world, the Government is seeking, for reasons relating to convenience and efficiency, to generally increase the range of services that are provided by electronic means. Towards this end, preparation work was carried out by the Department during the review period to ensure our participation in the Government's "Electronic Service Delivery Scheme" which was launched at the end of this year. Under the first phase of the Scheme, members of the public are able to submit simple tax returns, notify changes of address, apply for business registrations, make personal tax enquiries, purchase tax reserve certificates and pay tax liabilities by means of the Internet or through public information kiosks.
Progress was also made towards the implementation of the Department's 5-year Information System Strategy Plan, which was formulated in 1998-99. The Plan consists of 12 projects to apply further information technology to facilitate the Department's administration functions. During the review period, technical and feasibility studies for the following 5 projects were completed.
- System Infrastructure Enhancement Project, to enhance the computer system’s infrastructure components in order to cope with the new business initiatives and commitments;
- Data Management Enhancement Project, to enhance the management of the data collected by the Department;
- Assess First Audit Later System Project, to automate return screening and assessment processes, improve the effectiveness of field audits and promote voluntary tax compliance;
- Interactive Taxpayer Enquiry Service Project, to provide automated round-the-clock telephone enquiry service in respect of personal tax information; and
- Electronic Lodgement Service Project, to provide for telefiling of tax returns.
The Department will phase in the implementation of these projects during 2001 and 2003.
I should also mention that during the year, considerable effort was put into drawing up a Taxpayer's Charter, which was duly launched in May 2000. The Charter outlines taxpayers' rights and explains what they may do if dissatisfied with services received or they otherwise wish to complain. Equally important, it also sets out the obligations of taxpayers. The Charter is thus designed to promote both transparency in relation to the Department's operations and understanding between taxpayers, practitioners and the Department. In this way, it is intended to help ensure that the Department provides services in a fair and efficient manner.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest thanks to all staff who have risen to challenges, overcome difficulties, and continued their dedicated work during the review period. It would be remiss of me not to also acknowledge the considerable efforts of Mrs Agnes SIN in administering the Department during the period in which she acted as the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
E.C. D’Souza, J.P.
Acting Commissioner of Inland Revenue
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(Last updated/reviewed : August 30, 2001))