Tax administration responses to COVID-19: Measures taken to support taxpayers

  • Email, Web sites, FBs and various social networks. Video messages illustrating usage and entries of data according to new regulations and additional online services.
  • E-filing notifications, Contact centre scripts, etc.
  • Announcements in regional directorates, branches and service centres etc.
  • Dedicated email address and telephone hotline for crisis-related tax issues.
  • Publicize the availability and encourage taxpayers to use the tax agency’s online services.
  • Increase the availability of remote taxpayer assistance, including extending operating hours and increasing staff assigned to telephone contact centres.
  • Provide additional tax filing options to customize and update your e-filing system and new online tax payment method.
  • The tax administration established a clear communication strategy to keep taxpayers informed. This includes dedicated web pages, frequently asked questions (regularly updated), multifaceted media communications and the use of social networks. The tax administration also recommended taxpayers to use remote services to comply with tax obligations.

    An ATO Emergency Support Line has been prioritised with reduced wait times (currently less than 10 seconds) for any taxpayers needing support or additional information in present circumstances. With the initial Federal Government stimulus support package announced, service windows have been increased to assist taxpayers. The ATO’s website has been updated with additional taxpayer information and FAQs.

    In addition to the Emergency Support Line, the ATO has established a temporary email contact point for additional issues or specific questions on COVID-19 for the ATO to address, updates to the ATO website with additional messages and on social media.

    The Austrian tax administration advised taxpayers to use telephone or digital channels to contact the tax office. Only in urgent cases it is possible to arrange for a face-to-face meeting. The webpage refers taxpayers to the existing services (e.g. telephone hotline, taxpayer portal to file online, etc.).

    On its website, the administration has provided a form that taxpayers can use to apply for tax relief. The completed form can then either send to an email, particularly created for this purpose, or upload via the taxpayer online portal.

    In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection (COVID-19) and taking into account the recommendations of the Special Task Force, restrictions were imposed on the customer facing structural units of the State Tax Service (STS), namely taxpayer service centres and Call Centre. Nevertheless, the e-mail addresses and telephone numbers were promptly made available on official web-site and social media accounts, so that taxpayers can reach the employees operationally. Moreover, the necessary IT infrastructure was provided to enable the staff of Call Centre to access the internal online system remotely.

    In order to assess the impact of the pandemic on the economy, the necessary work is underway to identify mostly affected taxpayers, including vulnerable taxpayers. The Media and Communication Department, through STS official web-site and social media accounts, regularly posts updated contact information of the staff of taxpayer services centres and Call Centre.

    Media and Communication Department has posted several awareness raising videos and information on the official website and social media accounts..

    Greater use is being made of digital channels and telephony services.

    Taxable persons are asked to arrange their administrative affairs online or by telephone as all information centres and offices are no longer accessible to the public. This was communicated (i) on the internet and via mail; (ii) notice for representatives of the accounting profession available on the FPS Finance website; and (iii) posters at the offices.

    Advertisement on radio and televisions is being used to communicate with taxpayers. Offices remain open with staff working on a rotation basis. The opening hours are reduced.

    Indirect Tax Administration (ITA) has established a 24/7 Operational Headquarters. Through this headquarters, we communicate with all other institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and transmit all new information regarding indirect taxes to taxpayers via the website and the media.

    The ITA opened eight customs offices 24 hours a day. Filing of VAT and excise returns is done electronically, as well as submitting certain requests. Communication with taxpayers is done electronically. The call centre is available to taxpayers.

    The ITA implements crisis communication through its website and media in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All new information on indirect taxes is made public.

    The Receita Federal do Brasil (RFB) bases its communication mainly on the internet and media. The RFB website and intranet now show a button “COVID-19” with all measures undertaken. The Official Gazette publishes all RFB acts concerning taxpayers support.

    Enhanced services are in place or being deployed:

    • Chat services have been expanded, now open from 7 am to 7 pm, and the required staff numbers increased. Also, the scope of the chat services has increased to include: regularization of debts, registration, debts recovery, instalments, imputation of tax credits, social security guidance, SME guidance, sectorial guidance, employment taxation guidance, copy of declarations.
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