ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Technical Committee Looks Toward Tax Technology Standards

New York, Apr 14, 2003

On the eve of the April 15 deadline to file taxes, many procrastinators scrambling at the last minute are turning to the speed and convenience of e-filing on the Internet. In fact, fifty-three million Americans will file their taxes online this year, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Advances in online tax preparation software have promoted growth in the number of users since the Bush administration suggested last year that the IRS encourage online tax filing. The electronic transmission of tax information is also supported by a technical committee working to foster standards for this exchange using extensible markup language (XML).

Formed by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, or OASIS, the Tax XML Technical Committee aims to “research and analyze personal and business tax reporting & compliance information, represented in XML, to facilitate interoperability in a way that is open, flexible and international in scope,” according to its charter.

Tax XML intends to produce a vocabulary of terms, a repository of artifacts including XML templates, documents exchanged for tax compliance, best practices, guidelines and recommendations for practical implementation. The committee will focus on developing a common vocabulary that will allow participants to unambiguously identify the tax related information exchanged within a particular business context.

The interchange of information for tax compliance involves a variety of participants including businesses, governments, financial institutions, legal services, and solution providers that are involved in one or more of the many aspects that make up the tax compliance domain. The activities within this domain include legislation, calculation, filing, remittance, audits and more. Participants on the Tax XML committee include the Internal Revenue Service, the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency, Inland Revenue of the United Kingdom as well as SAP AG and American National Standards Institute members IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp.

Citing the benefits of standards in this area, committee chair Gregory Carson of the IRS noted, "Software vendors and tax agencies will no longer need to maintain jurisdictional specific applications and interchange standards. [Customer relationship management], payroll and financial developers will be able to reduce their system integration costs." Tax-paying constituents will also benefit from increased services from tax agencies and service providers due to more flexible interchange formats and reduced development efforts.

For more information or to become involved in the committee, visit the Tax XML website.

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