Efficient valuation for tax purposes

Mai 2022: New web application for the valuation of non-listed securities in cooperation with the STC                                                                     

The software engineering company emineo has realized a new web application for the valuation of non-listed securities in close cooperation with a group of experts from the Swiss Tax Conference (STC). Key success factors in the development of BVTax were the extensive experience of both partners in handling projects as well as emineo’s pragmatic, solution-oriented and structured approach.

Any securities or other interests in a company held by individuals must be declared in the list of assets on the tax return. The securities auditors in the cantons require a tax base for checking this information as well as the assessment. If the company is not listed on a stock exchange and, therefore, does not have a daily updated share price, this tax base is calculated in a specialized application and made available to all cantonal tax offices.

Replacement of an almost 20-year-old specialized application

The application “Securities Index Monitoring” (SIM) was used in the past for this tax base valuation. However, this had reached the end of its life cycle after almost 20 years. On the one hand, SIM was based on an outdated basic technology. On the other, the installation of updates at the workstations of securities auditors and assessors in 26 cantons caused a great deal of work. In addition, the functional scope of SIM had been constantly expanded over the years. The result was an expert system that could handle almost any special case but lacked the necessary efficiency in processing the large number of standard cases.

From project start to going live in a short time

As part of a GATT/WTO tender, the Swiss Tax Conference (STC) finally commissioned the Swiss software engineering company emineo to develop a new application for the valuation of non-listed securities. In the process, the architecture and functionalities were to be cleaned up, the application placed on a sustainable technical foundation, and usability improved, among other things. The project kicked off in the fall of 2019. The new BVTax (Business Valuation Tax) application went live in the cantons by April 2022. In the meantime, more than 30,000 valuations have already been carried out with it.

Project experience of both partners as the key success factor

There are several reasons why the project was successfully completed in such a short period of time. One of the key success factors was that both STC and emineo are very experienced in handling projects. However, the availability of a high-calibre team of experts at STC’s disposal throughout the project was equally important. This team of experts not only contributed its extensive knowledge to the project, but also worked enthusiastically on the development of BVTax. The experts were also prepared to critically question the scope of functions time and again and to get involved in the development of a solution that was new from the ground up.

Structured approach and iterative collaboration

In the first phase, emineo obtained an overview of the valuation of non-listed companies in order to be able to form a competent project team. Without a comprehensive professional and technical understanding, it would not have been possible to discuss at eye level with the experts of the STC and to make sound suggestions to them for the correct functionality of BVTax. The next step was to define the processes, the roles and the information architecture. Finally, it was about implementing the system architecture, the use cases, the user interface and the calculation engine. The main technical challenge was to embed BVTax in a complex system network with many other solutions and stakeholders.

A key element of the agile and iterative collaboration between STC and emineo were the weekly workshops. In each of these workshops, emineo presented prototypes for different use cases. These were then discussed and refined in the group and formed the basis for the development of BVTax.

Centrally operated web application without release planning

With BVTax, STC has a sophisticated and future-proof state-of-the-art solution. One important aspect is that the valuation process is more intuitive and efficient than before. Thanks to the improved user-friendliness, the assessors save time. Being operated centrally as a web application, BVTax does away with manual updates at the workstations and the time-consuming annual release planning.

«With emineo we were able to work together openly, transparently and on a level playing field. The pragmatic, solution-oriented and structured way of working convinced us all along the line and contributed significantly to the success of this project. That is exactly how we envision a partnership with an external software development company.» – Michael Baeriswyl, Delegate SSK IT Department, Swiss Tax Conference STC

Equipped for the upcoming digitization steps

Finally, BVTax offers wide-ranging potential of digitization and automation of processes. For example, after the valuation, an advice of credit is sent to the company concerned. This letter is generated and dispatched today over an interface from BVTax to the cantonal printer lines and archiving solutions in 13 cantons without media discontinuity. For the future, an even closer integration with cantonal assessment solutions is planned. In this way, a high number of valuations can be carried out completely automatically in the future. The assessors can then focus even more on complex special cases in which all their expert knowledge and experience are required.

About the Swiss Tax Conference (STC)

The STC is an association according to Art. 60 et seqq. ZGB (Swiss Civil Code) and was founded as early as 1919. Members are all cantonal tax administrations as well as the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA). The STC is mainly concerned with the standardization of tax practice and the exchange of experience. Among other things, questions and enquiries are dealt with in the relevant working groups and committees and recommendations are made to the cantonal tax administrations, which, however, are not binding on them. The STC works in a militia-style system, i.e. the members of the working groups and committees are employed full-time in the cantonal tax administrations or the Federal Tax Administration.

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