Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.3 /Trend I.Khalilova/
The process of modernizing the tax system of Azerbaijan is entirely related to the processes occurring in the global tax system. From this point of view 2011 in Azerbaijan, as in many countries, was remembered by the expansion of the range of electronic services in the tax service and by preparing the legislative changes at the legal level for the introduction of a broader technological process, First Deputy Minister of Taxes, State third-degree tax advisor Natig Amirov said in an interview with Trend.
Tasks defined by the decree of the President 'On some measures in the field of provision of electronic services by public authorities signed' on May 23, 2011, promoted further reforms in the field of electronic tax administration services.
Several important projects were implemented in the tax service sphere in 2011 in accordance with the Action Plan adopted with regard to the execution of the decree.
"I particularly would like to mark the implementation of the project on electronic state registration of taxpayers, without creating a legal entity since July 1, 2011," Mr Amirov said.
As a result of the use of electronic registration, individual entrepreneurs can undergo the official state registration in few minutes, without coming to the tax authorities. Amendments to the legislation with regard to the transition to electronic format of the state registration of legal persons were prepared in 2011 and appropriate procedures were completed in order to start this process in 2012.
Mr Amirov noted that all this, as the next stage of reforms in the system of state registration, is an important step towards the large-scale digitalization of registration system in the future.
In addition, scope and variety of electronic services to taxpayers through the Internet were expanded in 2011. The suspension of taxpayer's operations, his subsidiary, representative office and other entities (objects), restoration of individual's activity, registration of cash registers and exclusion from registration have been provided through the Internet.
The process of video appointment of citizens has been launched since Sep, 2011. The taxpayers can apply directly to high rank officials of the ministry on-line on the issues concerning them, through the terminals on taxpayers services and through territorial tax administration.
"We are also interested in the development of independent tax advisors. We launched a legislative initiative for the organization of private tax advisory service in 2011," Mr Amirov said.
The Taxes Ministry prepared and submitted to the government bill 'On private tax consulting service'.
Mr Amirov noted that activity of private sector in the provision of tax services should gradually intensify in Azerbaijan
"Our own sociological studies show that some taxpayers still enjoy help of outsiders during the preparation of tax returns. This is mainly observed among entrepreneurs working in the regions. For example, in Shirvan and Lankaran there are private consultants involved in these services. They provide services to 500-600 individuals. However, there is a need for certification of such consultants. Because rendering these services by those without relevant knowledge ultimately leads to financial penalties for taxpayers. From this perspective, institute of certified private consultants can assist entrepreneurs. I would like to note that this institution is widespread in Western countries," deputy minister said.
In 2011, implementation of a major project in the tax system began. This is a twinning project within the European Neighborhood Policy "Support to the Ministry of Taxes of Azerbaijan in the field of computer-based auditing." This project has great prospects in the near future, and envisages adjusting the administration in a tax audit in accordance with international standards at the highest level.
The project is implemented jointly with the Administration of Taxes and Customs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands - a country that has the best practices in the use of electronic audit in Europe. Some work on the project components has been already implemented and the process is now at the stage of active development.
"We would like that contacts of taxpayers with the tax authorities at all stages, starting from registration to providing returns, from tax payments to the tax audit process, will be fully implemented by means of electronic technologies", he said.
"We have already begun the process of electronic registration of limited liability companies with local investment. And to this day two legal entities have underwent on-line electronic registration," Mr Amirov said.
One of the innovations in connection with the use of electronic filing is that the list of required documents is reduced to a minimum. For example, documents confirming the legal address and payment of state fees are excluded from the list of documents that had to be presented for registration.
"This year we plan to complete a project to create a system of electronic payment of taxes and duties through the Internet. Work on the preparation of the necessary software services and verification in test mode has already been completed," the deputy minister said.
Extensive work on the main components of the project of introduction of "electronic audit" will be carried out this year. In order to gradually start using the system from the next year large number of technical, organizational and legal issues will be solved in 2012.
"In order to ensure wider use of electronic services by citizens, we intend to improve the activity of the terminals providing services to taxpayers, expand the range of services, and gradually achieve the transformation of these terminals in the electronic service centers of taxpayers. New terminals to serve the taxpayers in the regions will be provided in 2012," Mr Amirov said.
The process of improving tax administration will also actively continue in Azerbaijan in 2012.