Unmasking the robots -- an examination of the tax compliance implications of algorithmic secrecy

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Tax authorities are increasingly using algorithms to enable artificially intelligent machines to carry out fundamental and complex tax administration functions. These include tax audit-related activities, risk-profiling and tax assessments. This important and expanding role could significantly influence taxpayer compliance attitudes and behaviours. The extent and nature of this potential influence depends in part on the degree of transparency in the design and application of the algorithms used by these artificially intelligent tax machines. However, despite general acceptance of the desirability of governments being transparent in their use of algorithms, tax administration functions are presently considered a special case warranting algorithmic secrecy. This article assesses the case for algorithmic secrecy in tax administration and its potential taxpayer compliance implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-679
Number of pages33
JournalAustralian Tax Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Tax assessment
  • Taxpayer compliance
  • Robots

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