IMF Technical Note – Use of Technology in Tax Administrations 3: Implementing a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Tax System

Sophisticated information technology (IT) support has become an essential part of the fabric of modern tax administrations. IT plays a pivotal role in all aspects of tax administration – taxpayer interactions and service, registration, processing, accounting, work automation, workflow regulation, case management, and risk analysis and treatment. In 2017, the IMF published a series of three Technical Notes which address establishing a set of systems to provide core functions to a tax administration. Two years later, the information is still very relevant for tax administrations with no or limited and outdated technology to manage their core tax processes.


This technical note is the third of three addressing information technology (IT) themes and issues relevant to tax administrations. This note focuses on the implementation of a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) system in a developing country tax administration. The first note covers the use of IT in tax administrations and how to develop an information technology strategic plan (ITSP). The second note addresses how to select a suitable information technology system for core tax administration functions. These technical notes are primarily tax administrations that have no technology to manage their core tax processes, or their technology is limited and outdated. These notes focus on core tax functions and do not address other business systems (e.g., payroll, finance, document, and asset management systems).

This technical note and manual addresses the following questions:

  • What is involved in implementing a COTS Core System?
  • What are the steps involved in setting up a program management structure?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities in a program management structure?
  • What is the significance of vendor roles and relationships?
  • What business process considerations exist?
  • What are the implementation considerations?
  • How is data conversion/migration managed?
  • What security issues are present?
  • How is the product tested?
  • How is the change to the new system managed?
  • What are the common pitfalls?
  • What are the effects on business-as-usual systems operation?


Total pages 20 • Language English 

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The full Technical Note is available here for download.

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