Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

Posts tagged ‘ATAF’

S. Africa tax initiatives: BEPS

The revenue authorities from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia shared their thoughts and insights at a Best Practice tax meeting in Pretoria, South Africa on 16 July, 2015.

The Joint Statement of the Commissioners is attached for reference:

http://www.sars.gov.za/AllDocs/Documents/MediaReleases/Joint%20statement%20of%20the%20Comissioners%20General%20and%20heads%20of%20delegation%20-%20%20Illicit%20Financial%20Flows%20meeting%20-%2016%20July%202015.pdf

Key considerations:

  • Closer cooperation is needed re: illicit financial flows for tax and customs purposes.
  • The country-by-country (CbC) reporting threshold set by the OECD may need to be less for the African sub-region.
  • Information re: aggressive tax and duty schemes will be shared with existing treaty provisions.
  • Collaborative efforts will ensure to counter direct and indirect tax fraud.
  • Measures should be adopted to mitigate negative effects of profit shifting.
  • Legal frameworks and collaboration efforts will improve.
  • A regional database is to be established to support a risk-based approach.
  • Treaty networking will be emphasized, including the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters (AMATM).
  • South Africa will host a technical transfer pricing meeting, as well as convene the next meeting by October 2015.

Regional tax authorities in the African region, and others around the world, are working closer together to formulate Best Practices and join efforts to mitigate base erosion and profit shifting activities.

This collaboration also provides multinational organizations an opportunity to review their proactive efforts with tax authorities around the world to form trusting relationships and win-win opportunities to achieve mutual benefits.

African Tax Research Network 1st Annual Congress, Call for Papers

The African Tax Research Network (ATRN) requests research papers for its 1st Annual Congress entitled Contemporary Tax Challenges for African Countries.  A link to the conference details is provided for reference;

http://www.123contactform.com/form-1143642/AFRICAN-TAX-RESEARCH-NETWORK-ATRN-CALL-FOR-PAPERS

The African Tax Research Network (ATRN) is a newly established platform for African inspired dialogue, research and collaboration mainly among researchers, policy makers and tax administrators. Its establishment results from the need to identify potential synergies and linkages, in areas of research, between academics, policymakers, researchers and tax officials from the African Tax Administration Forum’s (ATAF) member countries. Launched in 2009, the African Tax Administration Forum is a platform to promote efficient, effective and service-oriented tax administrations and currently consists of 38 African member states. The ATRN, which is housed in the ATAF Secretariat in South Africa, is pleased to announce its 1st Annual Congress from 02 – 04 September 2015 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

This congress presents an opportunity for academics, researchers, tax administrators, students, tax practitioners, consultants and decision-makers on fiscal and tax policy to gather and discuss different aspects relating to national, regional and international tax matters.

The theme of the Annual Congress is “Contemporary Tax Challenges for African Countries”.
Prospective authors, both academics and practitioners, are invited to submit original and innovative papers on any topic related to this broad theme. Suggested topics of interest to be covered under the main theme include:
Natural resources taxation
Local taxation and fiscal decentralisation
International taxation
Customs & domestic taxation
Indirect taxation
Taxation in the digital economy
Tax treaties
Taxation in banking, telecommunication, insurance
Environmental tax
Taxation and regional integration
Tax compliance
Taxation & the distribution of income & wealth
Taxation and Human Rights (including taxation & gender)
Tax incentives

This conference is an excellent opportunity for interested parties to submit their ideas and presentations to form a win-win opportunity for taxpayers and tax administrations.  A collaborative relationship will enhance future efficiencies in this rapidly growing region.

OECD BEPS Strategy for Developing Countries

The OECD has released its plans for developing countries to play a greater role in its BEPS initiatives.  A link to the OECD release is attached:

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/developing-countries-toplay-greater-role-in-oecdg20-efforts-to-curb-corporate-tax-avoidance.htm

Summary:

  • Three-part strategy
    • Attendance at meetings by 10 developing countries, including Albania, Jamaica, Kenya, Peru, Philippines, Senegal and Tunisia.
    • Five regional networks of tax policy and administration officials will be established for coordination and dialogue on BEPS issues.  The regional focus includes developing countries located in Asia, Africa, Central Europe, Middle East, Latin America / Caribbean and Francophone regions.  The regional network will also be a forum for developing countries to discuss negotiation and implementation of the multilateral instrument under Action 15 of the BEPS Project.
    • BEPS toolkits to be developed for practical implementation and capacity building.
  • A two-day workshop is scheduled in December 2014 that will allow developing countries to discuss practical aspects and their priority issues.

Developing countries generally have less resources, experience and training to implement BEPS effectively, therefore this initiative should be monitored to determine ultimate success of the BEPS initiatives around the world.

MAP Vision: Forum on Tax Administration

The Forum on Tax Administration (FTA), representing heads of tax administrations from 38 countries, concluded their 9th meeting on 24 October, 2014.  The meeting represented attendance by over 130 delegations, including representatives from the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAR), Centre de Rencontre des Administrations Fiscales (CREDAF), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations (IOTA).  The meeting included strategic visions for the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) and Co-operative Compliance programs.

Links to the meeting summary and MAP vision are included for reference:

http://www.oecd.org/ctp/administration/fta-2014-communique.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/site/ctpfta/map-strategic-plan.pdf

The following actions were agreed:

  • Enhanced cooperation strategy, based on existing legal instruments.
  • Created a new international tax platform, Joint International Tax Shelter Information and Collaboration (JITSIC Network) to focus on tax avoidance.
  • Implement the new standard on automatic exchange of information while protecting taxpayer confidentiality.
  • Improve practical operation of Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) to address double tax issues more quickly and efficiently, integrated with the OECD BEPS action item.  Competent authorities of all member countries are “encouraged” to actively participate in this initiative.
  • Promote a voluntary compliance structure.
  • Develop principles on Co-operative Compliance arrangements that form an integral part of effective tax control frameworks.

MAP Strategic Plan summary – “Statement of Vision and Commitment”

  1. Collaboration of the FTA MAP Forum with other multilateral bodies, including OECD’s Working Party 1’s Focus Group, to further its goals.
  2. Participating Competent Authorities (CAs) commit to the stated goals and be accountable thereto.
  3. Allocation of adequate staffing levels and resources to meet CAs working demands.
  4. Adequate training programs and personnel practices.
  5. FTA MAP Forum’s engagement to address resource challenges.
  6. Empowerment of CAs to effect agreements in accordance with principles in the respective tax conventions.
  7. Absence of undue influence by administrative policies, practices or goals.
  8. Support resolution of MAP cases in accordance with multilateral principles, avoiding efforts such as maximizing revenue collection.
  9. Adoption of principle based and mutual trust principles.
  10. Adopt Best Practices in the pursuit of new initiatives to streamline and enhance processes to expedite MAP resolution.
  11. Sharing MAP Best Practices among FTA MAP participants.
  12. New MAP processes to elevate difficult cases.
  13. Enhance taxpayer’s involvement in case resolution, including bilateral/multilateral meetings and sharing case developments.
  14. Seek ways to avoid MAP cases, including APAs, joint audits, “roll-forward” adjustments and other techniques.
  15. Use multilateral MAP procedures.
  16. Adopt agreements for issue consistency.
  17. Avoidance of MAP manipulation by auditors.
  18. Deliver training on double taxation and CA processes via a “Global Awareness Training Module.”

The above meeting commitments and objectives are welcome as tax controversies increase and MAP procedures have seeming lost the elements of  timeliness, cost-effective resolution, avoidance of double taxation, transparency and efficiency.

It is hopeful that most tax administrations endorse, and commit to, the above MAP framework in an effort to achieve Best Practices for a win–win opportunity.

%d bloggers like this: