Authorities consider replacing TAXIS if upgrade is costly
Only a few years after the installation of the TAXIS automated system linking the country’s tax offices, the new government is seriously thinking of scrapping it and replacing it with a more modern system with wider applications. Dimosthenis Anagnostopoulos, the new secretary-general at the Economy and Finance Ministry responsible for information technology, is already looking at alternatives and is expected to submit a report to minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis soon. Anagnostopoulos’s first option is to ensure the installation of seven key TAXIS applications that have been severely delayed. If the applications are delivered in a relatively short time, he will then seek to get Intracom, the company that undertook to create and install the system, to upgrade it. But should the cost of acquiring the missing applications and integrating them into the present system prove too high, given the fact that the core system itself is already considered old, then Anagnostopoulos must design an alternative, a flexible system that, besides the tax offices, will be linked to monitoring agencies and other information systems used in the state administration. In any case, the ministry will call a tender early in the summer. The TAXIS system has enabled many taxpayers to file their taxes online since 2002. However, it has not had the success envisaged because, as experts at the ministry’s information technology secretariat say, its hardware was already dated the moment it was installed. The system also proved unable to handle heavy traffic and was beset by other problems, including significant damage to a hard disk in one of the main servers in 2000 that delayed the introduction of online filing of income tax declarations. So far, and without the added cost of installing the remaining applications, TAXIS has cost the State more than 150 million euros. A top official at the Economy and Finance Ministry says that the goal is to create a secure IT system that will help both taxpayers and the authorities. «Our aim is that the system we create – or the present system, if we manage to upgrade it – will end taxpayers’ visits to tax offices, since everything will be done through computer terminals,» he says. This will also help remove many desk-bound tax inspectors and allow them to monitor corporations, he added.