The Vice-Minister of Finance Sara Lobo Brites attended a meeting at the Executive Office of the Ministry of Finance Tower in Aitarak-Laran with the Tax Authority, which is the implementing agency of Fiscal Reform in Timor-Leste, on the 7th of August 2020. The objective of the meeting was to present and update on fiscal reform progress in line with the political commitment of the VIII Government on the Fiscal Reform Agenda.
One of the central pillars of the Fiscal Reform is to improve the infrastructure of the Timor-Leste Tax Authority (TL-TA) through the employment of advanced information system and technology in order to respond to the needs and demands encountered by the TL-TA. For the improvement of information system and technology, the TL-TA is now at the phase of implementation of the SIGTAS Version 3 which is an updated and more advanced system with some of the unique features such as: i) web-based which can be accessed by taxpayers and the TA at any time from anywhere whenever there is an internet connection; ii) complete modules ranging from registration to collection, from audit to objection/appeals; iii) audit trails are easily documented; iv) good security system; v) guarantees transparency through the employment of “letters and reminders” in which the taxpayers would regularly be informed and updated on their due dates of tax payment, any late payments involved; vi) it also has a module specifically for Value Added Tax (VAT) which will be incorporated as planned when the Law on VAT is implemented.
Within the realm of improving the infrastructure, TL-TA recently designed and implemented the e-Services platform via portal of www.attl.gov.tl to introduce e-Filing and e-Request. The benefit of e-Services is mainly for the taxpayers to save time and resources, especially financial resources whenever they submit their tax returns, including request for the issuance of Certidão de Dívidas (CD). The officials of the TL-TA would also become more efficient and effective since all the verification processes will no longer be undertaken manually. This is a major accomplishment of the TL-TA after almost 20 years since UNTAET’s time.
Moreover, particularly on the employment of information system and technology, TL-TA is working very closely with the important stakeholders such as Central Bank to finalize the P-24 (payment gateway) system in order to facilitate the taxpayers when they make tax payment at the designated commercial banks’ Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) or counters provided throughout Timor-Leste without necessarily queuing at the banks as it is currently experienced by the taxpayers.
The Tax Authority and its team will continue to work hard to improve the customer services to all its clients (taxpayers) to promote the principle of self-compliance within the ambit of self-assessment regime adopted under Timor-Leste’s tax administration system, while taking into consideration the ongoing global tax reform. The ultimate goal of the Fiscal Reform is for TL-TA to perform better in its function relating to the collection and administration of taxes in order to finance the state’s expenditure and to further contribute to fiscal sustainability since domestic or non-petroleum tax revenue is the unique source of income that is resilient.