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2018, 2019 reports – KONSENS project: Uniform IT systems in tax authorities are making slow progress only

Symbolbild - IT in der Steuerverwaltung

Since 2007, the federal and state governments have taken a joint effort to develop and implement uniform high-performing and advanced tax system. This system is called KONSENS (German abbreviation for coordinated new software development of tax authorities).  So far, the parties involved have spent more than €1 billion of budget funds on this project.

The KONSENS project experiences more and more delays. We pointed out these delays in various reports and annual reporting items: e.g. on international tax data exchange, assessment of interest payable on taxes evaded or taxation of retirees living abroad, etc).

In 2017, the legislator restructured cooperation between federal and state governments by means of the KONSENS Act. At the same time, the legislator strengthened the federal government powers. Fundamental changes in the structures and processes have been designed to help accelerate the development and use of uniform tax systems. The effective date for the KONSENS Act is 1 January 2019.

We closely monitored the process of implementing the KONSENS Act in the past two years. In three advisory reports to the parliamentary Budget Committee  (dated 14 March 2018, of 8 October 2018 and of 22 May 2019), we pointed out the risks and identified the need for better governance. At the beginning of 2021, the Federal Ministry of Finance will have to evaluate for the first time whether the intended objective of accelerating the development and use of uniform tax systems has been achieved by means of the actions taken. To assist in this effort, our current report provides advice on how to conduct a sound program results evaluation.

© 2019 Bundesrechnungshof