Can Blockchain Revolutionize Tax Administration?
53 Pages Posted: 11 May 2021 Last revised: 24 May 2021
Date Written: May 7, 2021
Experts predict that the use of smart contracts and other applications of blockchain technology can potentially revolutionize the manner in which we do business. Blockchain promises trust, transparency, improved access to shared information and records, as well as operational efficiency and cost savings. Thus, it is no surprise that companies and entrepreneurs are now developing blockchain solutions for an array of markets, ranging from real estate to health care. But, can this new technology revolutionize tax administration? Our current tax administration system suffers from a large tax gap, high compliance and administrative costs, and many inefficiencies. Blockchain’s core attributes may present a solution to these shortcomings.
This Article considers the underexplored role of blockchain in the tax space and concludes that blockchain has tremendous potential to revolutionize tax administration. In particular, implementing a blockchain-based platform for tax administration would present significant opportunities to digitalize and automate certain tax processes, minimize government information constraints, increase the transparency and trustworthiness of tax-related data, and reduce costs, data redundancies, and other inefficiencies involved in the tax administration process. However, many challenges and limitations must first be overcome to achieve these revolutionary goals. Thus, this Article also sets forth several normative steps for policymakers to undertake in supporting the development of blockchain and helping it to realize its full potential in the tax space. Taking an active role in exploring and understanding blockchain’s benefits, limitations and implications will place the government in the best position to harness the advantages of blockchain and modernize our system of tax administration.
Keywords: blockchain, tax, tax policy, technology, tax administration, tax gap, tax compliance
JEL Classification: K34, O30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation