The COVID-19 pandemic saw a significant shift among most tax administrations to remote working by many of their staff. As tax administrations consider the shape of the post-COVID workplace, many are examining the options for some degree of continued remote working for employees on a longer-term basis. This note explores some of the key issues that tax administrations may wish to consider in designing remote working policies, processes and guidance to help ensure that, where applicable, longer-term remote working is sustainable for both the tax administration as a whole as well as individual employees. This note does not provide recommendations for particular measures as the circumstances of each administration will vary. Instead, the intention is that the information in this note will help to stimulate thinking in tax administrations as to where changes or additions to existing strategies could be beneficial, including through examples of actions taken or planned by Forum on Tax Administration members. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many tax administrations have had to close offices and move to extensive remote working by staff, requiring rapid adjustments to many tax administration processes as well as the development of new policies and practices. For many, this shift coincided with the tax filing season, a peak time for contacts with taxpayers and for returns processing. Most tax administrations quickly took steps to ease administrative burdens on taxpayers impacted by the pandemic and, in many countries, provided assistance to the wider government in the delivery of economic support packages for those affected by COVID-19. It is a sign of the resilience of tax administrations that despite these significant challenges, tax administrations continued to carry out their core functions effectively, support by the widespread and successful adoption of remote working. Many tax administrations are now starting to consider the shape of the post-COVID workplace, and the opportunities for both the tax administration and staff that might arise from maintaining a degree of remote working and flexible working going forward. These can include:•Improving work/life balance. Remote working can offer greater flexibility to staff, in particular reducing or removing the need to commute and allowing some adjustments in the timing of the working day. This can be of particular benefit to those with caring responsibilities or those who wish to work part time, and can become an attractive part of the overall employment offer to staff. It can also make the administration a more attractive employer to talented people who are not geographically located close to the tax administration office, and help administrations retain their staff. •Enhanced resilience. Remote working can also give the tax administration a more flexible workforce, able to adapt swiftly to business continuity shocks or rapid changes in demands and priorities. One aspect of this is that employees can more easily support other parts of the administration which may be located elsewhere that require additional resource. It may also be possible to expand taxpayer service offerings beyond the traditional working day, if it fits with employee working patterns. In addition, having some staff remote working can mitigate risks from events that can affect physical locations (for example, power outages, short-term disruptions and natural disasters). •Cost reductions. After staff costs, building maintenance costs can form a significant part of a tax administration’s current and capital expenditure. By moving to remote working, a reduced need for office space might allow tax administrations to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings they require. This may also bring environmental benefits resulting from reduced commuting. However, realising those benefits is not without challenges, and it may not be possible or necessarily desirable to simply ‘roll-over’ the operating model changes that were developed at great speed to facilitate the shift to remote working in the early stages of the pandemic. Where tax administrations conclude that going forward there are benefits to maintaining a greater degree of remote working compared to the pre-pandemic situation, a more fundamental examination of policies and practices is worth considering to ensure that the operating model is sustainable in the long term. These include, among other things:•access to appropriate information technology and associated remote IT support arrangements;•an appropriate work environment both for staff health and safety and to meet security and data protection requirements;•potential revisions to employment policies and contracts, which may be predicated upon office-based working;•a supportive organisational culture which takes account of the different attitudes employees may have towards remote working as well as different opportunities to remote work;•mechanisms to ensure an inclusive, collaborative and creative culture when employees are not able to physically interact in the same way, including through the informal contacts that are made more possible in the office environment;•consideration of how best to manage performance, including ensuring that remote working does not have adverse impacts on careers or create stigma;•having staff welfare support arrangements adapted for the issues that might arise from continued remote working (including the risks from a potential lack of distinction between work and personal life); and•consideration of the issues around communication and engagement with taxpayers, ensuring that not only is their data secure when dealing with a remote working tax official, but also that they receive the same level of professionalism and service.Depending on the context, none of these challenges are insurmountable as is shown by the successful experiences with remote working over many years among some tax administrations. (See for example, Annex A on the experiences of the Finnish Tax Administration). They do, however, require careful consideration given that they can represent fundamental changes from the status quo prior to the crisis around which existing policies and practices have been developed. The purpose of this note, therefore, is to help tax administrations in their considerations of the issues involved in moving to a different balance in remote working opportunities over the longer-term that is sustainable for employers, employees and taxpayers. The report is arranged over six chapters.•Chapter 1 considers some of the ‘hard’ barriers around information and communication technology that can make it challenging to introduce widespread remote working for staff in a secure manner. •Chapter 2 explores the employment policy questions that administrations will need to work through given the differences between office work and remote working. •Chapter 3 examines organisational culture, and how a tax administration might maintain a collaborative culture when people are physically distanced. It also considers how tax administrations may respond to different attitudes employees may have to flexible working, and how new staff can join the organisation effectively in a remote working environment. •Chapter 4 looks at the various performance management issues that arise with remote working, especially when individuals have less physical contact with their managers and other tax administration staff and when many aspects of work and the working environment may be less visible. It also considers the challenges of maintaining staff motivation in the longer term.•Chapter 5 examines the possible impact on taxpayer servicesfrom remote working and possible policies and procedures that administrations may wish to put in place. •Chapter 6 looks at how to ensure staff well-being when teams are more fragmented and the boundaries between work and private life less clear. It also considers the physical well-being of staff, who may not have home working arrangements suited to longer-term remote working. Annex A contains the Commissioner Conversation between Commissioner Fernando Barraza of the Chilean Tax Administration and Commissioner Marku Heikura of the Finnish Tax Administration. This looks at some of the issues involved in developing the extensive remote working possibilities available within the Finnish Tax Administration.Finally, to support tax administrations as they consider the risks around these challenges, a tool has been developed based on the Risk Exposure and Tolerance Assessment tool created by the Canada Revenue Agency, and pre-populated with some suggested risks. This tool provides a highly adaptable framework through which tax administrations can explore the risks that moving to remote working may create, and the associated mitigation strategies.