State tax entity completes modernization of online system


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A key state tax entity has completed an IT modernization project that has been underway for nearly five years.

The The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) on August 16 signed a letter of “final state acceptance” for the Centralized Revenue Opportunity System (CROS), a unique solution that replaced a series of collection systems. of legacy taxes, some of which dated back to the 1990s. In a press release, the CDTFA said that “the innovative on-demand system creates a responsive online deposit and payment system for California business owners.” , expanding online services for clients and improving taxpayer access to records with real-time account information.

“We use cutting edge technology to help taxpayers file their returns, manage their accounts and make payments. For the owner of the business who ends up returning at night to her kitchen table, we want to make it convenient, ”CDTFA director Nick Maduros said in a statement. Among the takeaways:

  • While the project officially began in October 2016 – when the CDTFA was still known as the State Board of Equalization (BOE) – its origins date back several years with the publication of a project proposal in 2013 and approval. an $ 85 million contract for the project in August 2016. It was deployed in three versions. The first, May 7, 2018, covered sales and use taxes, tire charges, electronic waste recycling, and cigarette charges, among others. The second, August 12, 2019, covered taxes on alcoholic beverages, taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products, fuel taxes, and oil spill response costs and others. The third and final release, Nov. 9, covered cannabis taxes, lead-acid battery charges, natural gas supplements and more. By March 2019, CDTFA’s estimate of the total cost of the project had increased to $ 281 million, but the entity said Technical wire By email as of Monday, its total costs, including CDTFA staffing and payments to vendors, were $ 279 million.
  • “The final state acceptance” marks a “formal passage,” said CDTFA, from CROS to it on behalf of the main contractor, FAST Enterprises. All deployments are complete and CDTFA will handle maintenance and operations going forward, although FAST will continue to assist with “maintenance activities and technical knowledge transfer” to team members. CDTFA also worked with Grant Thornton for independent verification and validation services, International Network Consulting for data cleansing, and SupportFocus Inc. for data conversion assistance, he said.
  • Previous tax administration systems “included a legacy mainframe tax application, a Unix-based case management system, and a separate online services application,” the CDTFA said. In contrast, the new CROS provides an “integrated platform that allows system configuration without writing custom code to meet most business needs.” Availability has also expanded; The old online services were only available to retail businesses, while CROS makes all online services available for each tax program it administers. The system, the CDTFA said, allows it to “increase operational efficiency” and has helped it respond more quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic to executive orders bringing relief to affected businesses.
  • Completion of the existing system does not mean that CDTFA is done with improvements. The entity is “in discussions with Amazon Web Services,” she said. Technical wire, and plans to migrate the CROS application to AWS. In February, CDTFA IOC Scott Capulong mentioned future system initiatives involving the use of AI and data analytics. The entity said work was underway on a “data analytics initiative to improve the speed of tax return assessment,” adding: “By leveraging multiple data sources and intelligence technologies artificial, we can identify tax reporting errors early and increase voluntary compliance. “


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