TechCecille de Jesus
Shenzhen taps Tencent to fight tax fraud using blockchain
Tencent has been enabling tax transactions through instant messaging app WeChat. With this new venture, will they be moving WeChat to the blockchain completely?
Chinese internet behemoth Tencent has been tasked by the Shenzhen Municipal Office of the State Administration of Taxation to set up an “Intelligent Tax” innovation laboratory to tackle its tax fraud problems.
Tencent is known for dominating Internet-based services in China through its social network platform Qzone, as well as games and other entertainment platforms. Its instant messaging platforms QQ and WeChat have also integrated billing and payments, with WeChat extending its services to specifically cover tax filing and payments, refunds, and penalties. Last year, it was also reported that Tencent started a blockchain research partnership with Intel. And it looks like the official joint project may involve WeChat as well.
The integration of blockchain technology can boost the company’s taxation services immensely. According to an official release by the Shenzhen Municipal Office, the partnership will explore the “application of technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and big data in tax management and electronic invoices, risk diagnosis and early warning, tax service optimization, taxation policy and system knowledge map construction and other areas of exploration solutions, leveraging scientific and technological innovation to fully tap and empower tax scenarios, and promote tax reform and innovation.”
“The digital invoice based on blockchain technology has features such as complete traceability of the whole process and non-disruptive information, which is consistent with invoice logic, can effectively avoid false invoices, and improve the invoice supervision process,” said Li Wei, deputy director of the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of State Taxation.
“In the future, the Shenzhen National Taxation Bureau will continue to advance on the ‘Internet + tax’ road. We will promote tax modernization, optimize the taxation and business environment, and help improve Shenzhen’s economic quality.” The project is expected to lower costs and efforts required for tax authorities.
Throughout the years, the country has been plagued by tax evaders, with people even going so far as falsifying receipts so they can claim reimbursements. Pressure to collect funds has been mounting. “The world’s second-biggest economy is under huge expenditure pressure and racking up large fiscal deficits as it tries to cover pensions for more than 100 million retirees, as well as education, health care, and infrastructure costs,” the South China Morning Post wrote in an article last year.
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