I highly recommend reviewing this comprehensive publication by Ernst & Young, focusing on strategies and questions Boards should ask to prepare for tax transparency reporting. One insightful section describes key stakeholders for tax transparency reporting, including consumers, NGOs, Parliamentarians, OECD, and the media.
The publication encompasses the following concepts:
Current context for transparency
Current tax transparency reporting requirements
What others are reporting
Information that could be disclosed
Challenges to be faced
Deriving value from tax transparency
There is an excellent summary, at the end of the publication, depicting a structured approach for managing your tax profile, outlining ideas leading to a Best Practices strategy.
A Best Practices initiative for tax transparency reporting should be initiated, forming a framework to address challenges and identify opportunities.
The Commission adopted on 27th June 2012 a Communication on the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion. An Action Plan which details concrete proposals to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion was adopted on 6th December 2012.
One of the 34 measures contained in the Action Plan is the development of a European Taxpayer’s Code which is described as follows (action 17):
“In order to improve tax compliance, the Commission will compile good administrative practices in Member States to develop a taxpayer’s code setting out best practices for enhancing cooperation, trust and confidence between tax administrations and taxpayers, for ensuring greater transparency on the rights and obligations of taxpayers and encouraging a service-oriented approach.
The Commission will launch a public consultation on this at the beginning of 2013. By improving relations between taxpayers and tax administrations, enhancing transparency of tax rules, reducing the risk of mistakes with potentially severe consequences for taxpayers and encouraging tax compliance, encouraging Member States’ administrations to apply a taxpayer’s code will help to contribute to more effective tax collection.”
In anticipation of this initiative, some points worthy of consideration are:
Does your company have a Taxpayers’ Code or Best Practices within a Tax Policy or Tax Risk Policy?
Should the concept of a Taxpayers’ Code be discussed at the beginning of an audit to enhance trust and confidence?
Will this initiative be helpful in a simultaneous or joint audit?
Should a discussion be initiated with the auditor to establish a mutual Taxpayers’ Code?
I look forward to your thoughts on this interesting topic.