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Getting Ready for the Future of the Tax Function - Global Survey on Digital Tax Maturity and AI Readiness

Tim Niesen; Martin Scheid; Peter Fettke
WTS Study, WTS, München, 10/2018.


Corporate tax departments are confronted with various challenging developments such as increasing compliance requirements in tax-relevant processes, stricter standards for the implementation of internal control systems and new obligations stipulating the electronic filing of tax returns. Digitalization and the application of Artificial Intelligence methods hold promise for addressing these challenges through intelligent automation of routine activities and cognitive support for intellectual tasks, thus leading to a long-term transformation of the tax function. As a foundation, a systematic development of IT basics and capabilities in the context of digitalization is necessary to establish the basis for further developments and digitalization initiatives. However, specific models for measuring and describing the current state of tax digitalization as a starting point for a precise analysis of the potentials for the use of Artificial Intelligence within the tax function are not yet available. The present study aims to create the basis for such a systematic assessment of the current status of digitalization – the “digital maturity“ – of companies with regard to their tax function. It reports the results of an empirical study among experts from WTS Global on the digital maturity of tax departments. The result is a comprehensive overview of digital maturity in the tax function, taking into account various country-specific characteristics as well as the opportunities and challenges of digitalization from the perspective of the experts. Based on these results, a tax-specific Maturity Model is developed, which can be used to assess and develop the digitalization maturity of tax departments. The Tax Digital Maturity Model represents an approach for the systematic evaluation of as-is situations and enables the consistent development of capabilities to leverage the potentials of digitalization and AI, thus providing guidance on future developments.

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