How SAP S/4HANA is enabling the digitalisation of tax in the GCC

Posted by:
Chandan Vashista

Publish Date:
27 May, 2021

The current tax outlook in the region

For the past decade, the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) has been on a journey to reduce dependence on oil-based revenue. The decline in oil prices has led to decreasing fiscal balances and various tax reforms to take place within the region. In 2016, GCC-wide value added tax was introduced to broaden tax-based revenues. Since then, four member states - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) - have implemented online systems for tax administration. Each administration is at a different level of the digital transformation journey, with some form of citizen engagement being rolled out.

With these introductions, a smooth integration of flexible and scalable digital solutions are needed to meet the dynamic needs of authorities and taxpayers alike. SAP’s Tax and Revenue Management (TRM) platform for the public sector, based on S/4HANA, is the Tier-1 commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution for tax authorities, specifically designed to initiate, modernise and upgrade tax systems.

In our experience of implementing SAP TRM on S/4HANA, we've seen tax authorities achieve many key benefits, such as increased productivity, increased operational efficiencies, increased compliance rates, enhanced user experience, real-time analytics through embedded analytics, as well as establishing micro-services and API based integration. All of this has led to greater satisfaction among the tax community, including taxpayers, tax agents/advisors and tax officers.


Built to accelerate tax processing and increase compliance

S/4HANA is SAP’s next-generation business suite. It’s built on the advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and uses Fiori to deliver a consumer-style user experience. This enables it to bring together applications for Customer Relationship Management, Advanced Planning & Optimisation and Extended Warehouse Management; all in one system, supported by a single database.

Cloud-based, on-premises or even as a hybrid model, S/4HANA’s greatest benefit lies in its ability to comply with, and incorporate, complex tax-specific laws, regulations and business policies. By replacing cumbersome manual processes with workflow-driven operations and automated functions, the GCC region can proactively initiate and encourage smoother tax implementations. The S/4HANA platform results in transactions with higher speed, enables real-time planning that assists further execution and enhances reporting and analysis based on live data. Collaboration with ministries, banks and other third parties, by integrating SAP S/4HANA with their systems, enables greater efficiency across the entire tax administration lifecycle.

These integral changes pave the way for internal employees and tax officers to create consolidated taxpaying processes across the GCC, including across levies, duties and charges. This creates a conducive, tax-friendly environment that acts as a catalyst in helping tax requirements gain greater visibility; saving valuable time involved in filing as well as processing, and helping to reduce the national tax gap in the economy. Ultimately, the solution helps administrations to maximise voluntary compliance and increase tax collections.

As part of the modernisation journey, tax authorities in the GCC are introducing emerging technologies, the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). These empower authorities to implement data-driven processes, monitor taxpayer behaviour and create a more efficient tax administration service for all users. S/4HANA’s configurable backend ensures seamless integration with emerging technologies.


With tax authorities in the GCC region continuing evolve, they need a flexible and scalable solution that can evolve alongside them. SAP’s S/4HANA suite can meet the requirements of multiple tax types, whilst creating efficient processes for taxpayers and tax officers/agents. More importantly, S/4HANA’s highly configurable, flexible and intuitive platform empowers tax authorities within the GCC to build a roadmap for future innovations.

Learn more about how tax authorities are revolutionising taxpayer compliance, using actional insights driven technology.

Blog Author

Chandan Vashista

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