The OECD’s Task Force on Tax and Development will use this concept to assist developing countries by providing international auditing expertise and advice to better address tax base erosion, including tax evasion and avoidance. This initiative is led by the Commissioner General of the South Africa Revenue Service, South Africa’s Deputy Finance Minister and Director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
The Tax Inspectors Without Borders program will match demand from countries requesting international tax audit assistance with a supply of international experts, primarily consisting of tax inspectors in other tax administrations. Accordingly, the experts will now be made available to developing countries.
The initiative is being launched this year, thus communication with the auditors in developing countries should include a discussion on the use of this concept, a listing of the respective experts and the communications that could be shared with the corporation.
It will be interesting to see the development of this initiative, the sharing of information, memorandums of understanding with the corporation or, absent an explicit statement that the country is using this initiative, any impact on the appeal process resulting from assessments of this sharing program. Additionally, it would be interesting to compare the developing countries that use this program versus, or along with, tax training from the United Nations, posted in the blog dated 2 June 2013.
Some examples of Best Practice strategies to strategize for audits, before they begin.
- Audit defense file for significant transactions and potential risks
- Transfer pricing documentation; contemporaneous, available within the audit request period, without significant penalties
- Inter-company Agreements: signed, readily available; does substance of transactions match the form
- Tax reserves on statutory financials: review, know how to respond to auditor’s queries
- Loan agreements, review for arms-length documentation, rationalize different loans with different interest rates
- Audit notice/telephone call: is there a global communication process for prompt notification and pre-audit planning
- Change of finance personnel, ensure a seamless transition for audit defense files and documentation
- Identify the first point of contact for an audit “raid”
- Who will meet with auditors regularly, company personnel/outside advisors
- Company information, organization charts, etc.; identify what should and should not be provided
- Information for other entities/years not under audit; be prepared to react to such queries quickly and consistently
- Consistency of global methodologies, ensure there is a governance process as tax authorities do exchange information
- Amnesty provisions; how are you made aware of them, process for review if applicable
- Annual review of pre-audit Best Practice strategies for awareness and governance
Hope this is helpful, I look forward to your valuable ideas.