NMAS
State Revenue Services

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Until May 2013, all the information sent to taxpayers, as well as requests about additional information handed to State Revenue Service (SRS), was sent in paper form using postal services. When sending an administrative act in paper form, it was sent as a registered letter and it could only be received by a certain person in a certain post office, which was not a favorable situation for those taxpayers whose business activities are spread over Latvia or even over the world. Too often, information reached taxpayers late or even failed to arrive. Furthermore, the financial costs of process administration for both SRS and taxpayers were large, including expenses for posting, public transport, and paper printout. Starting from May 2013, the administrative acts, decisions, documents and information issued by SRS is sent electronically to taxpayers by means of the Electronic Declaration System (EDS).In order to get access to itit, a user only needs a computer and an Internet connection, which means that a taxpayer can obtain the information sent by SRS regardless of his/her location. Thus the service does not need to involve third parties (e.g. post office, couriers, etc.), which previously added to the cost of the service. Target users of the new e-service Tax Payers Legal Information Exchange System (NMAS) are EDS users and registered taxpayers – all legal entities (more than 186,000) and almost 400,000 individuals. Additionally, any individual who is not registered as an EDS client can access EDS and NMAS services, by using the access via the portal latvija.lv requiring bank authentification and authorization. Since the implementation of the solution, SRS has sent documents to taxpayers 1,331,588 times, while taxpayers have sent documents to SRS 181,118 times.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
SRS developed this solution in order to provide reduction of the administrative load both for taxpayers and the SRS itself, as well as made changes in the appropriate laws and regulations in order to ensure electronic correspondence with SRS via e-address, and this type of communication would conform to legal requirements. Key benefits were as follows: reduced costs, reduced time consumption, as well as unlimited access to the information without limits in time and location. The range of EDS users is unlimited and its use is provided for every resident who has access to the Internet. NMAS can be used by all legal entities and individuals of Latvia. The solution speeds up information exchange with SRS, and it is not necessary to go to a post office to receive registrated letters. Since NMAS solution was implemented, the current financial effect has reached the saving of nearly 3 millions EUR within past 17 months including: • Saving for tax payers 1,434,682 EUR ( incl. public transport expenses 2.40 euro, purchase of an envelope and a postage stamp for the Latvia territory around 1 euro, the price of a paper printout around 0.20 euro, 181 118 correspondence units). • Saving for SRS thus reached 1,597,905 euros (purchase of an envelope and a postage stamp for the Latvia territory around 1 euro, the price of a paper printout around 0.20 euro, 1 331 588 corrrespondence units). This solution allows tax payers to request and receive those services from SRS that are not available by using the EDS. There are number of services that SRS provide outside of electronic format by EDS. The solution also saves time to a tax payers – now it requires just a minute to send a letter to SRS instead of three working days that were required before the solution.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This specific e-service provides electronic communication between government institutions and individuals, and is one of the first in the Latvian public administration and the first with such a large range of persons, data volumes and positive economic impact, which does not require paper documents for information exchange and post or courier services, as well as saves time for communication about simple matters and enables taxpayers to send the same information with as single ”click”. In Latvia, the ”e-address” solution is not currently implemented, and this project is the first step towards a formal and legitimate e-communication between the state and its taxpayers. Digital Agenda for Europe 2020 7th pillar of the EU public benefits from IKT (action No. 110 – Deploy and roll out digital services in key areas of public interest - e-Administration requires that e-Administration services offer a cost-effective way to better services for every citizen and enterprise, and participation in an open and transparent administration. The developed NMAS is one of the key elements (e-address), without which it is impossible to provide implementation of e-Administration.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
For the project implementation from the information systems point of view, the waterfall method was used, initially providing documentation development and then software development. SRS made an agreement with the software developer, within which the necessary information system development tasks were ordered. SRS initially provided the required business requirements for the service, after that making a memorandum of agreement on the performance of the necessary tasks. The project implementation was done by initially developing the software documentation, ensuring software documentation reviewing from the SRS side. After accepting the software documentation, the software development, testing and delivering for acceptance testing to SRS was carried out. SRS installed the software in a test environment and carried out testing in accordance with the software documentation. After successful software acceptance testing all the necessary steps were taken for the software installation in the production environment providing and opportunity to take steps back in case of errors. Before the implementation of the solution and after the installation of the software in the production environment, the service promotion was provided via mass media. All activities and responsibilities are clearly defined in the attached activities plan.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
In October 2012, the Ministry of Finance made a proposal to change the notification procedure of the administrative acts, decisions, etc. issued by SRS while transitioning to an electronic environment. The proposal was discussed in the Latvian Parliament. In December 13, 2012, the proposal was approved as amendments to the law ”On Taxes and Fees”. The political decision implementation was provided accordingly to the Public Procurement Law by Latvian Republic: the State Revenue Service has entered into the contract for information systems development, maintenance, and supervision, which was undertaken as part of the service development. The State Revenue Service participated in the project implementation as business process owners and IT specialists. SRS representatives provided development of the project business requirements description from the business process point of view, taking into account the technological tools that were at the disposal of SRS and testing after the delivery of the solution. The roles of the involved SRS personnel were as follows: business process owners, IT administrators, IT project managers, testers. Exigen Services Latvia provided the project development – software requirements specification development, software requirements description development and software development.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The project was financed by the Latvian state budget. In SRS, various contributions to the project are provided by its personnel, who usually performs specific SRS functions (provide tax administration, take responsibility for development of legislative acts, etc.). A separate project team with the single goal to implement the project was not appointed. The project implementation costs were as follows: 1. The IT solution (software development) – 67,542 euros Licences and equipment – two Oracle Enterprise Licences: 105,156 EUR, technical equipment: 12,567 EUR

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. Provided online communication between SRS and EDS users. Target audience of the new e-service NMAS are the EDS users and registered taxpayers – all legal entities (more than 186,000) and almost 400,000 individuals, as well as any individual who is not registered as an EDS client, but by using the access via the portal latvija.lv that requires bank authentification and authorization can access also the EDS and NMAS services. Since the implementation of the solution, SRS has sent documents to taxpayers 1,331,588 times, while taxpayers have sent documents to SRS 181,118 times. The number of EDS users is increasing by every year, hence, the number us NMAS service users is also increasing. 2. Administrative, time and financial resources saved. Since NMAS solution was implemented, the current financial effect has reached the saving of nearly 3 millions EUR within past 17 months including: • Saving for tax payers 1,434,682 EUR ( incl. public transport expenses 2.40 euro, purchase of an envelope and a postage stamp for the Latvia territory around 1 euro, the price of a paper printout around 0.20 euro, 181 118 correspondence units). • Saving for SRS thus reached 1,597,905 euros (purchase of an envelope and a postage stamp for the Latvia territory around 1 euro, the price of a paper printout around 0.20 euro, 1 331 588 corrrespondence units). 3. Instant communication without delays that would be caused by transportation of documents using a computer and an Internet connection. 4. Convenient and direct access to the communication channel, which also provides a communication feedback. 5. Improved quality of services to taxpayers and the public image of SRS.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The system logs the nature and volume of all communication that goes through it. The cost of communicating without the system was known. This allowed for a comparison to be made between the data on enacting the process without and with usage of the system. From that comparison an evaluation of the project benefits in terms of time and financial resources was produced.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
• Limited resources of personnel for project execution: - The personnel of the SRS carried out their part of the project implementation as an additional activity to their daily work. • Since this specific e-service is one of the first of that kind in the Latvian public administration there were no direct previous experience that could be applied to the implementation of this project: - Political support, timely informing of the public and gradual project implementation enabled successful realization of the new changes.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Prior to the implementation of the initiative, a series of manual and time-consuming operations had to be made in communication with taxpayers in document preparation, enveloping, sending, supplying, as well as receiving in a certain post office. There was a significant risk that in the long road the communication simply straggled and did not reach the recipient. Now the document preparation and sending process is automated and is as quick as lightning thanks to the electronic environment. On the other hand, the sender can be sure that the recipient has received his/her consignment. For example, high importance consignments need the receipt fact to be approved right in the system. Consignment delivery is prompt and precise with minimized risk of stray or delay. This prevents confusion and complaints, and taxpayers can timely carry out the necessary tax activities. As a result the public image of both SRS and the state is improved, and positive interaction between the state institutions and the people is faciliated. Before the implementation of the project, at the end of 2012, a taxpayer service quality research (quantitative survey) was done, which reported views and preferences of taxpayers on various aspects of cooperation and communication with SRS. The most frequently mentioned desire for improvement was the opportunity to receive electronic messages, especially by legal persons. A planned follow-up study will chart the impact of the improved service functionality to taxpayers.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
This specific e-service is one of the first in the Latvian public administration and the first with such a large range of persons, data volumes and positive economic impact, which does not require paper documents for information exchange and post or courier services, as well as saves time for communication about simple matters and enables taxpayers to send the same information with as single ”click”. Given the fact that this solution covers a large range of taxpayers, namely 100% of all legal entities and 100% of all economically active individuals (the Law on Taxes and Fees determines that all legal persons and individuals must submit reports via EDS) other public administration institutions have also shown interest in using this solution. The performance of the developed solution has proven that the right technical architecture was chosen. SRS plans to continue to develop this approach creating new and increasingly sophisticated e-services. In long term, SRS plans to link the developed NMAS solution with the concept of e-address implementation approved by the Cabinet. Currently we want to use and offer our experience in implementing e-addresses.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Quality communication with clients (taxpayers) is an essential prerequisite for providing a full tax collection process. Accurate, open and direct communication facilitates fast exchange of information and effective cooperation between public institutions and the business environment. Simple way to reduce the amount of paperwork and finances spent for the administrative institutions and the time consumption for citizens and businesses. These improvements contribute to more rapid development of the e-society and offer a cost-effective way to better services for every citizen and business.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   State Revenue Services
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Ilze Jankova
Title:   Deputy director of Tax department  
Telephone/ Fax:   371 67122689
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   ilze.jankova@vid.gov.lv  
Address:   Talejas iela 1
Postal Code:   LV-1978
City:   Riga
State/Province:  
Country:  

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