mgm has worked as a service provider in the tax environment for more than 20 years.
ELSTER (German acronym for ELektronische STeuerERklärung, electronic tax return) is a joint project of the tax authorities of the 16 German states and the Federal Ministry of Finance for a secure electronic transfer of tax data. The project lead is with the Bayerisches Landesamt für Steuern (BLfSt), the Regional Tax Authority of Bavaria.
For this purpose the ElsterOnline portal (now Mein ELSTER) has been designed. As an internet service portal it comprises the specialist procedures and services supported in the ELSTER project. Since September 2005, tax payers (companies, tax consultants, private households) can, in addition to the previous ELSTER form, complete online forms browser-based and transfer them to the tax administration.
mgm technology partners supports the Bayerische Landesamt für Steuern in the ELSTER project as leading IT service provider and is co-responsible for design, implementation and the technical QA of the portal.
Already since 2005 the tax return has to be handed in electronically via the ELSTER online portal, today Mein ELSTER. Citizens and organizations are registered for it and have the so-called ELSTER certificate which has been issued several million times.
Security requirements for authentication solutions are especially high in the public sector and the integration of solutions in the heterogenous system landscape is especially challenging. And exactly with this, mgm has broad and deep experience with one of the most successful authentication solution in the public sector.
The ELSTER certificate is nationwide used and known and, thanks to mgm, secunet and the Regional Tax Authority of Bavaria, it guarantees secure authentication.
But also authega® – in German short for „Authentifizierung für E-Government-Anwendungen (authentification for e-government applications)“ – has been jointly developed by mgm with the Free state of Bavaria and the company secunet.
Due to the legal requirements of the Bundesministerium für Finanzen (BMF, the Federal Ministry of Finance) there are special demands concerning the technical quality. For example, it is to be guaranteed with every release change that the historical traceability of the data processing remains ensured for ten years. Due to the legal submission deadlines, the robustness of ELSTER is especially relevant for operation. In particular close to deadlines, short response times and performance for a large user number must be realized.
Configuration instead of development
Due to a complex tax legislation with regular changes and changing conditions a process of directly defining models and rules by the specialists and at the same time of avoiding a scope for interpretation of analysts and developers is to be recommended. This is made possible by using an explicitly developed rule language in ELSTER as well as the use of different configuration tools by tax specialists.
Third-party system producers rely on a regular delivery of libraries for updating their procedures and for correctly validating data with respect to legislative changes and jurisdictive revisions. For this reason, ERiC has been delivered reliably and up-to-date at the deadline for many years.
Tax administration portals
Mein ELSTER is based on the latest, robust scalable architecture and an Open source stack. Virtualization and a model-based development are the basis of the portal. And a modern CMS and web framework on Open source basis care for usability and sustainability. Dynamic forms are used, even longrunning application processes for tax declarations are supported beyond release changes. Communication with tax payers and organizations is enabled via mailboxes and e-mail.
Operation in a complex system landscape
Communication in the ELSTER setting has to be guaranteed with diverse state level and federal systems. It ranges from synchronous to asynchronous communication, and is characterized by exceptional load peaks at certain deadline dates. Data sets in terabyte range have to be searched through within seconds. Test environments must be able to simulate expert, system and integration tests with systems outside the sphere of responsibility.