Thailand’s Revenue Department Plans Blockchain, Machine Learning Use for Tax Probes

Thailand might implement machine learning and blockchain technology for tax-related operations, such as tax avoidance probes.

Thailand’s Revenue Department wants to use distributed ledger technology (DLT) and machine learning tools for tax avoidance investigations, Bangkok Post reports, citing director-general Ekniti Nitithanprapas. Blockchain would be adopted to help the department check if taxes have been paid according to the requirements. Also, the technology is expected to streamline tax refunding procedures, Nitithanprapas noted.

Besides blockchain, machine learning will be used to inspect how taxes are evaded. Thus, the Revenue Department will be able to monitor tax fraud and ensure transparency, the agency chief said. Earlier, he stressed that adopting innovative technologies, such as blockchain and big data, was one of his top priorities.

The new plan resonates with Thailand’s initiative to modernize its tax system. In September 2017, the government released its National e-Payment Master Plan, which touches upon the implementation of the e-Tax system. The latter is expected to streamline commercial transactions, cut storage and paper costs, and replace paper-based tax invoices. The move is part of the Thailand 4.0 economic model.

Some local entities are already building systems aiming to integrate the e-Tax initiative. Professional services major Accenture, for example, is helping Siam Commercial Bank build a blockchain-powered platform for billing and payment processes. The solution is developed on R3’s blockchain platform Corda.

Thailand is not the only country thinking about adopting blockchain for tax processes. In February of this year, Azerbaijani tax minister Mikayil Jabbarov stated the ministry was planning to explore how DLT could be applied for various tax-related tasks.

Elsewhere, the Philippine finance department said in June that it planned to implement blockchain applications in several areas, including tax payments. However, the department was waiting for the central bank to greenlight the technology.

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