Automated Tax Form Processing

A holistic solution including scanning, data extraction, workflow and IT infrastructure

IRIS is a long-term partner of the Belgian Ministry of Finance. Among other projects, IRIS has implemented the automated tax form processing of VAT and personal tax forms with its recognition software, as well as the document management system attached to it.

In 2008, the Ministry decided to set up a new architecture to enable the administration to scan tax declarations and their annexes (such as: incoming mail, rental contracts, mortgage loan contracts and other unstructured documents). This corporate scanning system had to be able to process 1 million pages per day and bring a lot of new benefits to the tax authorities.

IRIS has won this large contract thanks to an innovative design of the proposed solution. IRIS not only masters the digitization process, but also the document management and workflow system, as well as the very demanding IT infrastructure aspects.

How does automated tax form processing work?

All paper documents are sent to two regional scanning centers in Ghent and Namur. There, they are scanned in by 10 large production scanners and sent to IRISPowerscan™ for processing. IRISPowerscan™ generates two sets of images: a colored JPEG and a black-and-white TIFF, that are automatically indexed.

Both the data extracted from the tax forms and the color images of all documents enter an electronic workflow that will monitor all further steps, control quality and track that every phase of the process is successfully achieved.

The colored JPEG images are processed through a cluster of IRIS PDF servers, where they are converted to PDF files and hyper compressed by IRIS’ patented iHQC technology. These PDF files bring many benefits. Images are highly compressed, in color, to files that are even smaller than classic black-and-white images. They also contain the recognized text, which allows to create additional indexes and bookmarks. Electronic signature is also made available at this step.

A smart document management system

These color and compressed PDF files containing the recognized text are then stored in the document management system IRISNext™. There they are archived with an appropriate back-up strategy. Allowing the original paper documents to be destroyed. This archive is then available for the tax authorities to consult documents and find information either based on the indexes or through full-text search based on the recognized text.

The data extracted from the tax forms are put into the Ministry’s back-office for tax computation. Through multiple means of automatic control any irregularity is reported and analyzed by tax agents in local offices. Via the link attached, based on the document’s index, they can then view the images in the electronic document management system and validate properly in order to avoid any mistake in the taxation process.

Partnering for success

The Ministry’s automated tax form processing system is one of the most impressive achievements by IRIS. As it contains all state-of-the-art technologies for scanning and indexing, file compression, document recognition, archiving, document management and process monitoring. This big project shows to what extent IRIS can bring high-level solutions that meet very demanding constraints at the customer’s side, with great return-on-investment.

In 2008 the minister decided to set up a new architecture that will enable the administration to scan not only forms, but also annexes to tax declarations, incoming mail, rental contracts, mortgage loan contracts and other unstructured documents. This corporate scanning system should be able to process 1 million pages per day, and bring a lot of new benefits to the tax authorities IRIS has won this large contract thanks to an innovative design of the proposed solution. This was possible because IRIS masters not only the digitization process, but also the document management and workflow, as well as the very demanding IT infrastructure aspects.
Georges Arendell, Belgian Ministry of Finance

Integrated with:

  • Logo IRISNext

Key facts

  • 2 regional scaning centers
  • Up to 1 million pages scanned per day

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