Reflections on “digital by default” approaches to tax administration of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Tax authorities are increasingly adopting “digital by default” or “end-to-end” digitalised approaches to interacting with taxpayers. This is part of a broader international trend of embracing “e-government”--which is generally accepted as having potential to foster greater governmental and public sector transparency, accountability and efficiency. As such, the implementation of digital by default tax administration aspirations have not encountered significant resistance to date. However, the COVID-19 pandemic raises a number of interesting nuances which may not have been previously contemplated or appreciated in the drive and approach to digitalising tax administration. This article identifies and discusses these nuances, drawing upon the recent Australian experience in rolling out economic and financial support measures for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis suggests that existing tax authority commitments and approaches to digital by default interaction with taxpayers may need re-examining and adjusting to optimise them for a post-COVID-19 world.
Original languageEnglish
Article number309
Number of pages23
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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