ECONOMY

AI at the taxman’s service

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The tax authorities intend to employ artificial intelligence to contain tax evasion, as the national plan for the utilization of European Union resources provides for the use of AI systems to facilitate inspections.

According to a Finance Ministry official, this entails data mining, which constitutes the art of digging out useful information from large data pools, in order to beat tax evasion. For example, it could help tax inspectors detect which declarations are true or inaccurate. The tenders for the implementation of such a project will start next year, but it will be some time before the mechanism to that effect is completed and bears fruit for the tax administration.

The French tax authorities developed such an AI system in 2018, drawing on databases not only in the state mechanism but also from private companies, such as e-commerce and even social media.

The French system has a 20% higher efficiency that the traditional methods monitoring authorities employ, as the AI system conducts countless cross-checking procedures to identify suspicious cases. Crucially, this system evolves and learns every day from the data the monitoring mechanisms feed it with.

In Greece the new AI system will be applied across all taxed material: It will cover cases of fraud in income tax, value-added tax, stamp duty, special consumption taxes, fraud within companies etc.

The ministry and the Independent Authority for Public Revenue are also planning for the online connection of tills and card terminals (PoS) with the tax authorities.

At the moment several enterprises have their tills connected, allowing the tax authorities to know when each transaction took place. What the state does not know is how the transaction was made, whether it was through card or cash. The connection of the till with the payment terminal will allow the taxman to know both the time of the transaction and the method of payment.

The tender for the creation of the necessary software will start in 2021, but it is not known when the system will become mandatory for all enterprises.