The aim of the 2013 government programme was to drive forward and realise implementation of the pre-filled tax return. Since this already appeared largely assured through transfer of the previous year's figures to FinanzOnline, the Austrian Ministry of Finance sought further optimisation intended to significantly ease the burden on taxpayers primarily in the context of income tax and the related employee tax return. The upshot of this was a project contract from the then Directorate-General IV (management and organisation of tax and customs administration). The aim of the project was on the one hand to enable automatic payment of tax credit balances, and on the other hand to obtain from source in so far as possible the data required for calculating any tax credit balance, thereby relieving the burden on the individual taxpayer.
In addition to creation of the technical preconditions, the challenges consisted in particular of adjustments in terms of logistics in order to enable electronic data transfer from the relevant organisations, having regard to data protection law. In addition, there was a requirement to adjust Austrian procedural law so that a tax credit balance could be paid out without an application being made and also so that adjustments resulting from a subsequently-filed tax return could be taken into account without unnecessary bureaucracy.
The core concept of the project therefore consisted of two areas:
On the one hand, automatic payment of tax credit balances relating to employment (income tax). Here, the calculation basis consists of payslip data transmitted by employers.
On the other hand, incorporating strategically long-term extraordinary allowances (donations, contributions to churches and religious associations, retrospective pension contributions and additional contributions to pension schemes) as well as data relating to disability.
Through Automated Employee Tax Assessment, since the second half of 2017, under certain preconditions, taxpayers have been receiving tax refunds without needing to make a separate application. The beneficiaries are taxpayers who, by the middle of the following year, have not submitted a tax return for the previous year. In this way, where too much income tax has been deducted, it is automatically refunded; likewise, sole-earner or single-parent credits or social security payments are also credited. During the period July to October 2017, employee tax assessment was introduced and implemented on an automated basis by way of the so-called Automated Employee Tax Assessment, covering approx. 850,000 Austrian citizens. The advantages for taxpayers are as follows:
– there is no requirement to submit a separate tax return
– overpayments of tax are automatically calculated by the tax administration
– the credit amount is transferred to beneficiaries' bank accounts
– a notice of assessment is issued.
This service supports in particular those people on a low income or a minimum pension who, in the past, often did not make use of the option to submit an employee tax return. However, in principle, it benefits anyone who only has income liable to income tax and who is owed a tax credit. If the tax administration can assume that a taxpayer will themselves submit an application in order to report additional expenditure, initially, no automated employee tax assessment will be implemented. However, if, within a period of two years following the assessment period, no employee tax return has yet been submitted, where a tax credit is owed, an automatic tax calculation will always be undertaken. For the first time, in 2017, approx. EUR 180 million was automatically paid out in tax credits. With effect from the 2017 tax year, specific extraordinary allowances such as donations, church contributions and voluntary additional insurance will also be automatically taken into account. Through data transmission directly from the organisation by means of encrypted "sector-specific personal tax identifiers", the highest level of data protection is assured. On the one hand, taxpayers save themselves the inconvenience of collecting and collating donation receipts, while on the other hand, this enables automatic integration into the Automated Employee Tax Assessment, ordinary employee tax returns and income tax returns
|Award category:||new solutions to complex challenges - a public sector citizen-centric, sustainable and fit for the future - european or national level|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||taxreturn, automated employee tax assessment, datatransfer|
|Short English description:||The aim of the 2013 government programme was to drive forward and realise implementation of the pre-filled tax return. Since this already appeared largely assured through transfer of the previous year's figures to FinanzOnline, the Austrian Ministry of Finance sought further optimisation intended to significantly ease the burden on taxpayers primarily in the context of income tax and the related employee tax return.|
|Organisation:||Federal Ministry Republic of Austria Finance|
|Level of government:||national level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:||6-10|
|EU membership:||EU member|