On September 13, The Symposium on Digital Taxation took place as an online event. Sponsored by the WU Vienna University of Business and Economics and the Tax Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law Vienna, eClear’s CEO, Roman Maria Koidl, participated as a speaker and panel member. The symposium addressed the question of how to combine legal tech and tax tech.
Walter Brenner from the St. Gallen University started with an overview if the industry in “The Most Current Digital Developments.” In his speech, he outlined that, “Human behavior and IT will always be in a feedbackloop.” This is also evident in the development of more and more cloud systems, which enable inexpensive data storage for private and business use. He concluded, “Data will not come and go. It is our future!” Following the keynote, the panel discussions took place.
Data and its quality are essential factors of digitization which influences all sectors and is also expanding more and more into the fields of law and taxation. In these areas especially end consumers have very little knowledge and need the guidance of lawyers and tax advisors. To make things easier for consumers, legal and tax tech companies are developing more and more platforms where the end consumer can find help themselves. In the session “Recent Legal Tech developments,” Christoph Sorge of Saarland University cited use cases like flightright.de or geblitzt.de. “This legal-as-a-service platforms will grow,” he said. They will also continue to increase in the area of taxation, especially in the B2C sector. Companies like taxfix, an online platform where one’s tax return can be prepared and processed, are becoming more popular. The tax industry is just starting to experience the beginning of a digital transformation.
Roman Maria Koidl, in “Digital Platforms and New Digital Business Models,” offered his insights with eClear and its business, “In five years eClear harmonized the tax content of 30 European countries to the eClear EU Tax Taxonomy. In the next step, we added over 300.000 exceptions and rules to a unique, fully certified tax database of 1.2 million VAT and Customs IDs, permanently updated.” Online merchants can now use this database to match with their inventory and apply the correct tax rates.
It’s a perfect example of how a digital platform can facilitate the tax field and revolutionize the tax industry by greatly simplifying tax professionals’ daily work and online merchants. Koidl also noted the importance of providing the right tax content in his speech.
Jan Mendling of Humboldt University Berlin later echoed his sentement its importance in another session with, “The first question is: What are you bringing into the system?” and not only referring to data,” We need to establish time, capability, knowledge, and tools.” It seems that there is still a long way to go.
The digitization of the TaxTech industry will lead to better integration of tax services into taxpayer’s processes. That digital transformation in the tax industry has progressed comparatively slowly. The reason being that digitalized tax services are heavily regulated, and the tax industry has managed well without the demand for digital solutions. But today’s consumer demand more innovation. Therefore, the tax advisory industry needs to be more progressive and revitalize itself through digital transformation.