Senior tax officials from OECD and key non OECD countries and international organisations gathered in Seville during 12-15 January 2004 for a series of meetings on tax administration related matters. The meeting was hosted by Spain´s Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria (AEAT).
The primary event during the period was the launching of the OECD´s Forum on Tax Administration, an initiative to promote dialogue on strategic tax administration issues and to facilitate the exchange of best practices. Over 100 delegates, including 27 heads of national tax bodies, attended the Forum event.
The creation of the Forum will help national tax administrations to respond to pressures from governments to improve the service they provide to taxpayers and to secure the revenue base. There was a widespread recognition that good compliance, which is the overiding objective of all tax administrations, requires advancing simultaneously on the taxpayer service and tax enforcement agenda. Citizens have a right to expect tax authorities to strive to make the payment of tax as painless as possible. But honest taxpayers also expect that tax administrations will also enforce the law and that non-compliance with these laws will be identified and dealt with appropriately.
It is intended that the Forum become a mechanism for exchanging views and the sharing of effective tax administration practices among member countries, and more generally to non-members through the OECD´s extensive outreach efforts. The work of the Forum will also facilitate the development of a system of good practice materials that will be made available to assist tax bodies (both OECD and non-OECD) enhance their administrative programs.
The initial Forum event focussed on how tax administration bodies get their message across within government and to the taxpaying community. The meeting also provided an opportunity for three countries (i.e. Spain, Singapore and Russia) to showcase aspects of their tax administration reform programs.
The work of the new Forum will be guided by a Bureau comprised of 11 OECD countries and South Africa. The Bureau will be chaired by the Director General of the Norwegian Directorate of Taxes, Mr. Bjarne Hope.