How can governments encourage people to submit thei taxes online?

How market research helped the French government increase online tax submission.

By the French government and BVA, a French research agency.


Government E-service offering to citizens

The French government wanted to increase the number of people submitting online tax returns. Their aim was to simplify citizens’ access to public services and increase the number of e-services to save time, paper and government resources.


Behavioural economics ethnography

Together with research agency BVA, the French government used behaviour economics ethnography (the study of how people make decisions), to review three key factors of behaviour influence: personal mind-set, physical context and social environment. In addition, they used ‘Nudgelab’, a one-day co-working session which included clients and some lead users, to discover insights into the user journey. Each idea was evaluated and ordered in priority, with the top ones being pre-tested before they were rolled-out.

So what?

Increase citizens awareness

The research showed that the lack of awareness about online tax returns was due to paper tax returns being presented as the default, identifying this as a key issue in increasing citizen usage of the platform. As a result, a renovate communication campaign was launched to present online as the new default.

This study helped save 400 tonnes of paper and led to a 10% increase in online tax returns, compared with the previous year.