Saturday, May 16, 2009


The opportunity for 2D barcodes to penetrate Government organisations as viable solutions is currently limited by the technology. Specifically, concerns over security and the strict structure and organisation of Government institutions. However, there are some examples of how 2D barcodes can be integrated into paper intensive transactions.

Tax Returns

The equivalent departments to New Zealand's IRD in the US and Taiwan have been experimenting with 2D barcode representation of tax return information.

The key value driver is to move away from hand writing recognition expenses and to reduce the overall cost of optical character recoginition (OCR) software. The combination of compact size and high capacity of 2D barcode formats, such as PDF417 and QR Code, allow more data elements to be included in a form to further increase processing efficiency.

Current OCR solutions are limited by the capacity of a linear barcode. Information from this barcode tends to be limited to form or personal identifier that helps the person processing the form to the right area for data entry.

The increased capacity offered by 2D barcodes enables the actual tax return data to be encoded by the person filing the claim.

On receipt in the tax department, all information can be captured in a single scan and inserted into the IRD database as part of the OCR process.

This is possible given the given the flexibility of 2D barcodes, the image above shows XML data being stored in PDF417 format. This allows an automated interface to a transaction processing system to insert the data record from the 2D barcode.

This increases overall processing efficiency and reduces errors that can be introduced through manual intervention.

The example form shown below was proposed by the IRS in 2004 as a means of increasing overall efficiency in tax filing.

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