Semantic Web and GIS: technology to help municipal tax policies

SICRAS is the research project for implementing local bodies' tax and social policies.

The implementation of tax and social policies at various levels of the Public Administration (PA) is based on consultation from heterogeneous information sources (land register, filling out of tax returns, population register, tax information systems, ICEF declarations...) in order to find the information about administrative deeds to be produced. The need to integrate these sources with information that can be taken from analyzing satellite images emerges ever more frequently, as they provide a privileged point of view of the territory and the changes occurring to it. Finally, the possibility of integrating this data with other public information taken from social media, newspapers and press agencies, blogs and any other source of data coming from Web 2.0 is becoming increasingly important.

The aggregation of these non-aligned heterogeneous sources with semantics, population principles and different formats, is a critical factor to which current technologies (business intelligence, multi-dimensional analysis, data mining) seem only to give part, expensive and non-scalable answers. (Sherman R. (2008), Breaking the Data Integration Bottleneck: Accelerating DW, BI, MDM, CDI, and CPM Operations” Athena IT Solutions, 2008, IRI, Inc.).

To overcome these critical factors and meet territorial verification and government needs, a new paradigm of gathering, clearing, representing and navigating data is needed, whether structured or destructured, alphanumerical or geographic.

The semantic technologies can create a source for the development of new generation software for tax and social policies, where semantic identification of the important entities (e.g. individuals and legal entities, places, buildings, land parcels, contracts, payments...), the express representation of relations between these entities and links with information referring to it is a new concept that surpasses boundaries in the approach to the existing data management instruments on the market.

The semantic and entity-centric approach to managing the “data-deluge” is a frontier of research that is still at its initial state in various sectors (Brida S., Combetto M., Frasson S., Giorgini P. (2009), Tax and Revenue Service Scenario for Ontology Matching, in Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Ontology Matching (OM-2009), Germany:, 2009, p. 242-243. ) but it suffices to think of the recent launch of the Google Knowledge Graph, based on the slogan “things, not strings” to understand the potential, and in the ways it is proposed in this project it represents a totally new element worldwide with regard to the fiscal verification and collection processes.

Goals of the project

The goal of the project is to study and implement methods and tools for creating a technological platform that, by using semantics and GIS, provides a unified, integrated view of the citizen from a social and taxation point of view. This will allow a complex, scalable knowledge based to be obtained on everything that is important for the tax verification process in a certain area, which supports an innovative aggregation, clearance, classification, navigation and tax evasion search system for local and state taxes, to support the application and monitoring of social and tax policies in the area.

By appropriately engineering these results, the bodies in charge of tax verifications and collection will be able to collect, group together and navigate through information in the simplest way, using them organically and in a centralized mode with considerable quality and reliability (e.g. data from records of citizens who enjoy subsidies, asset data and data on the composition of families can all be cross-checked, to trace untruthful declarations) and also start up target tax evasion actions. Finally, thanks to the entity-centric approach used, the aggregation and clearance times for data sources will be considerably improved, allowing the system to easily scale in the event of large volumes of different data sources.

The role and potential of semantics will be studied for the purposes of:

  • representation of the various aspects that characterize the citizen in order to create a unified system on taxation and social policies
  • the realization of new instruments to support analysis and evasion recovery policies
  • the realization of new instruments to support social policies in the area
  • the realization of services to support the taxpayer, both in terms of consulting a tax position and in terms of managing and making payments.