Tax filing made easier through the internet

13-03-2003

Preparing your taxes can at times be a complicated procedure, wherever you may live. The multitude of forms, statements, and accounts are enough to give anyone a headache. But, as Martin Hrobsky reports, filing your taxes in the Czech Republic has recently become a little easier.

As the end-of-March deadline for filing taxes in the Czech Republic comes ever close, the government has announced a new method for filing taxes - through the internet. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Information and Technology have designed a web-based system of tax forms that allow users to fill out and submit their taxes. Michal Faltynek, the director of the program from the Ministry of Finance, explains:

"Simply, tax forms that are downloaded from our server to a local PC. People fill out all their information on the forms and send them back to the server with an electronic signature. After a few seconds the forms are tested and checked. If the tax return and the electronic signature are correct a statement is sent verifying that the tax return was received correctly by the central server. After an appropriate time the tax return is sent to the local tax office for processing."

An electronic signature can be used to authenticate and identify the sender of a message. Electronic signatures can also ensure that the original content of the document that has been sent remains unchanged. I asked Mr Faltynek if this type of security has been proven and if there are any risks involved with using the tax filing system over the internet:

"I hope that there are not any major security problems. All these features are developed with a high level of security. But all technical things can have some technical problems. I don't think there is a case where it is one hundred percent secure. We hope its security is at a good level."

Filing one's taxes through the internet does offer many advantages, such as faster processing time, greater accuracy, and immediate confirmation upon reception. But not everyone has the internet at home. I asked Mr Faltynek if he thought accessibility was limited, considering that not everyone has access to the internet:

"It's not only for the internet at home, its possible to connect to the system from all PCs which are connected to the internet network. That means from work, an internet cafe, as well as at home. An electronic signature is necessary, the best is on chip cards. However, it is also possible without an electronic signature, but in this case a printer with a local PC is needed."

13-03-2003