The Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) initiative enables the transfer of tax audit knowledge and skills to tax administrations in developing countries through a real time, "learning by doing" approach. Experts – currently serving or recently retired tax officials – are deployed to work directly with local tax officials on current audits and audit-related issues concerning international tax matters, and to share general audit practices.
In addition to improvements in the quality and consistency of audits and the transfer of knowledge to recipient administrations (tax administrations seeking assistance), broader benefits are also anticipated including the potential for more revenues, greater certainty for taxpayers and encouraging a culture of compliance through more effective enforcement.
The project concept received the strong support of the G20 Leaders in their August 2013 St Petersburg Declaration including in the Tax Annex, and from the G8 Leaders at their summit in June 2013 (Lough Erne Communiqué).
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
One year after the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, and coinciding with the 2016 United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York, the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) initiative is now a fully-operational partnership between the OECD and UNDP. The initiative is a strong response to the challenge of effective mobilisation of domestic resources which will be critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. TIWB also responds to the commitments made by the international community in Addis to strengthen international tax cooperation. TIWB delivers tax audit experts to developing countries to work alongside local officials in tax administrations to build capacity on on tax audits.
The TIWB partnership comprises a joint OECD/UNDP Secretariat based in Paris and a high level Governing Board. It is funded by governments and private foundations. In April 2016, Kenyan national and tax expert, James Karanja was appointed to lead the TIWB Secretariat. The TIWB Secretariat performs the match-making function of experts with assignments, operates a data base of qualified experts, monitors and evaluates deployments and produces tools to support the process.
A new high level Governing Board held its first annual meeting on 15 April 2016 and endorsed a 2016 work plan which includes the delivery of a minimum of 15 audit deployments, expanding opportunities for South-South cooperation and working with Regional Tax Organisations. The Governing Board provides guidance and international visibility for TIWB Programmes. Members include Helen Clark (co-chair, Administrator, UNDP), Angel Gurría (co-chair, Secretary-General, OECD), John Christensen, Sir Paul Collier, H.E. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, H.E. Emília Pires, H.E. Lilianne Ploumen, H.E. Mauricio Cárdenas Santa María, and Andrew Treusch.
Results so far include over USD 245 million of additional revenues. Expert deployments in Albania and Senegal have recently been successfully completed. Current TIWB programmes are underway in Ghana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Liberia, Nigeria and Rwanda. 10 other countries have requested assistance through the TIWB Secretariat.