Estonian Tax and Customs Board roots out tax fraud with SAS®
Boasting the highest per-capita GDP of any of the former Soviet republics, Estonia achieved rapid economic success after asserting autonomy and turning to the open market. The tiny Baltic country's new way of doing business provided new opportunities for fraudsters looking to bilk the government. Thanks to a prowess for fraud detection, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board makes it hard for the tax cheats to win.
According to Ivar Laur, Head of the Analysis Division, and Anneli Nappus, Head Analyst of the Tax and Custom Board's Intelligence Department, the board needed a cost-effective way to pursue suspicious activity while avoiding audits of law-abiding taxpayers.
"We knew that we were losing significant revenue," Laur says, "but the tools we were using – primarily Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel – were not adequate for the analyses we needed."
More creative models
Faster, more accurate decisions
Before SAS, the team had to rely on hunches and gut feelings. With SAS, they now take decisive action quickly and confidently. "We're identifying investigation targets and detecting risks as soon as they happen and initiating audits to get to the truth," Nappus says. "Previously, we could only look for basic irregularities on a smaller set of filings. Now, we can ask more sophisticated questions and analyze a much broader range of filings, so we have greater and more thorough coverage – and it's faster, too."
Precise audit selection
Greater revenue recovery
"When we compare what we did before vs. what we do now, we've noted significant time savings," Laur says. "Our team is able to review and analyze more data than ever – about five times as much as we did five years ago – more risks, more fields, more ability to discover more possibilities."
"This is much more advanced than what other European countries are using," Laur adds. "When a new risk type emerges, we have immediate access to the data and can instantly modify our models. We can see how big our risk exposure is and react accordingly. The universality and flexibility of SAS help us adapt in a fast-changing environment. Our declaration forms change every year, and it would be hard to keep up using other tools or systems."
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Estonian Tax and Customs Board
Detect and prevent tax fraud with greater accuracy and efficiency
SAS Enterprise Guide
Before, 70-80 percent of audits yielded no evidence of fraud or error; now, 80-90 percent of cases do
“"We're correctly analyzing the data to target fraud or mistakes in 80-90 percent of the filings that we audit. That makes our team much more productive."”
Deputy Director General of Core Processes