Mauritius - Facilitating filing + big data analytics
1. MRA facilitating taxpayers to meet their filing obligation
The months of September/October represent the peak filing period for individual taxpayers in Mauritius. To enable taxpayers to meet their fiscal obligations, the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) made provision for an array of facilities during this year’s filing season. During the last week-end of September 2018, the MRA operated 18 Free Income Tax Assistance (FITA) centres around the island. MRA officers were present in these centres to assist taxpayers in filing their returns and paying tax, if any. There were more than 12,000 taxpayers who availed of this facility. Our computer savvy taxpayers are always in quest for new sophisticated services. To meet the growing demand of new facilities, the MRA introduced a mobile application, the MRAeasy, for filing of tax returns. This MRA app is easily downloadable from Google Play Store or App Store. The MRA also organized several sensitization campaigns for individuals at the seat of various Ministries as well as parastatal bodies and made live demos on how to file income tax returns online. Moreover, to obviate the need for taxpayers to travel long distances to call at the cash office of the MRA for payment of taxes, taxpayers were provided with the option of using Direct Debit payment facility. On filing of their tax returns, taxpayers were prompted to enter their details in order to give a one off instruction for debiting their bank accounts with the tax payable.
2. Big data analytics at MRA
A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was at the seat of the MRA to provide technical assistance on big data analytics solutions. Big data analytics is today’s new vocabulary for revenue administrators worldwide. While new technologies are making it possible for tax administrations to collect and store huge data, innovative analytics of such data are now reshaping the functioning of tax authorities. Given the novelty of the concept, the IMF team made two presentations for the benefit of MRA officers on how data analytics is being used in tax administration and how data analytics tools may be used by the authority in its compliance risk management