Business intelligence software specialist SAS Institute is powering efforts by the Hong Kong Government's Internal Revenue Department to speed up tax assessments. The company said it had just completed providing key software and services for the Assess First Audit Later programme, which started late in 2000 and will be completed by the end of the year. The programme supplies an automated tax return processing system that allows the department to focus on post-assessment audits, facilitate the identification of potential high-yield tax avoidance and evasion cases, and provide an effective means to measure tax compliance and ultimately promote voluntary compliance among taxpayers. Deployed in two phases, the programme covers all profits, individual composite and property tax returns. The new procedures call for taxpayers receiving their notices of assessments earlier so they know the payment due-date well in advance and have time to arrange funding. Dawn Kung, managing director at SAS Hong Kong, said the company had provided an analytical software suite that allows the department to automate the screening of tax returns for assessment, the selection of cases for post-assessment desk audit, field audit and investigation, as well as tax compliance measurement. 'Our consultants worked closely with the department and we are ready to support the department on other tax audit-related mechanisms,' Ms Kung said. Ms Kung said SAS Hong Kong supplied its statistical software suite, including modelling and forecasting tools. Services included installation, technical support and customisation. SAS has been involved in a number of significant Hong Kong government projects since 1984, including the supply of technology behind the analysis of the latest census results.