Electronic Administration in Spain: the 2018 Income tax return is Paperless

The Spanish Government continues with its commitment to implement an electronic Administration in all possible processes and procedures. Therefore, this year, for the first time in its history, the income tax return cannot be presented on paper. This is one more step towards the digital transformation of the entire Spanish public sphere.

On April 2, the campaign for the presentation of Income 2018 began, which ends on July 1. The main novelty this year is that the draft can no longer be printed and presented in the physical offices, but that the entire process must be done electronically, through the Income WEB.

This year’s version of the Income WEB has been improved, paying special attention to its securities portfolio program. Now, the visualization of operations is simpler and facilitates the declaration of gains and losses.

In the case of having any problem with the electronic channel, the Tax Agency has the plan “We Call You”, through which the draft can be presented through a telephone call, making an appointment in advance. Not everyone can access this option, so it is advisable to take a look before the established requirements. From May 14, it will also be possible to go to the offices to receive face-to-face attention if necessary.

This decision to make the first declaration of the income without paper forms part of the efforts of the Government to consolidate the electronic Administration (e-Administration). This is also framed within a general context of adoption of digital transformation, both in the public sphere and in private organizations.

The first income statement paperless

Last March, the Government announced an important novelty for the declaration of income this year: paper delivery is no longer allowed. This does not mean that taxpayers can no longer print the draft, simply that it will not be delivered in person. Therefore, printing, starting this year, only serves to get a preview.

One of the reasons why this change has been made is to avoid redundancies and duplicities that were traditionally produced. What happened was that some taxpayers made the declaration through the website of the Tax Agency and printed it before confirming it.

This printed document was taken to the advisor or to the bank and they presented it for their part, while on the digital platform those same data were also sent, which produced these duplications, which did nothing but cause delays and increase costs of process.

User signs submitting his income tax online

Although this was a problem that had to be solved (and it was done thanks to the paperless declaration), it was not a majority method. In the past year, 87% of taxpayers submitted their draft through internet and 350,000 people fell into this practice that hindered the Administration.

In addition, it is a necessary step to make the leap to a complete electronic administration, in which all the procedures are carried out by telematics means and the whole society takes advantage of the benefits it has.

In previous years, you could go to any delegation or administration of the State Tax Administration Agency to modify the draft in person. Similarly, the declaration could also be confirmed and presented at the offices of the Agency.

As we have seen, these methods were very little used and in many cases caused more problems than benefits, therefore, they have been dispensed with and the result is the Declaration of Income 2018 without paper.

In addition to avoiding the aforementioned duplicities, saving on paper is an important benefit, taking into account the importance of ecology among the values ​​of today’s society. Not only on paper is saved, but in travel and unnecessary travel to the offices, avoiding the added expense that taxpayers had to face in other years.

Taking steps towards eGovernment

The eGovernment is a logical and necessary step in the times we live. In this way, the relationship of the citizen with the State is much closer and direct, since the offices are permanently open, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Thanks to this, there are no problems due to the incompatibility of schedules, nor is there a need to take a couple of free hours to carry out a simple procedure.

The cost savings were calculated by the National Center for Accessibility Technologies Foundation (Centac, for its acronym in Spanish) in a report that estimated it at 134,358 million euros from 2011 to 2020.

An essential component on which this relationship between the taxpayer and the State is the digital certificate. Thanks to this certificate, citizens can identify themselves remotely and carry out the procedures they need from home.

What advantages does the digital certificate offer? Many procedures that usually involve long waiting times in offices, now can be done in just a few minutes thanks to these certificates. For example, for checking your driving license points, present and settle the taxes or fill in the population census data, etc.

The FNMT offers a full list of all the places where digital certificates can be used.

Among the outstanding advances made by the electronic administration in Spain, we find the SARA platform, a private communication network for secure transmission between the different administrations; Network 060, a single portal for citizens to access the three administrations (local, regional and state), or electronic ID, a smart card with a personal certificate that allows the identification of its owner.

Demonstrating the commitment to electronic administration, in 2015 the Government approved two standards (39 and 40/2015) that established a deadline (2018) to integrate a series of digital services in all public institutions. Recently, a moratorium was established that extended the date until October 2020, under penalty of fine for those who do not comply.

The Income Statement 2018 is a further step towards electronic administration, in which all the benefits they offer, such as cost savings, are used and more efficient operation is achieved. In the end, all this affects both the state and the citizens, with which we all win.