03/11/2017 – International tax experts gathered today at the OECD in Paris to share experiences and identify best practices in the implementation of Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) programmes.
Interest in this initiative underscores the growing importance of the role of partnerships and international co-operation in strengthening domestic resource mobilisation, a key objective of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to lessons learned from the first two years of TIWB’s operation, participants discussed the challenges and risks in delivering assistance, the kinds of tax base erosion that are most pervasive and challenging for developing countries, and the way forward to deliver the initiative’s target of 100 deployments by 2020.
Launched as a joint OECD/UNDP initiative in 2015, TIWB facilitates the deployment of international tax audit experts to work alongside tax administrations in developing countries on complex international tax audits. TIWB was designed to support developing countries to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation by transferring technical know-how and skills to local tax auditors, as well as share general audit practices. 27 TIWB programmes are currently underway in 23 countries with 7 new programmes in the pipeline for 2018.
Our estimates indicate that for every dollar spent on TIWB, developing countries can receive a return in excess of USD 1 000 from taxes recovered. Audits completed using TIWB assistance between 2012-2017 have generated in excess of USD 328 million to date. These audits have so far proven that this approach can improve the quality and consistency of tax audits; sustain improvements in tax audit skills; and produce higher levels of voluntary compliance by taxpayers.
“In just two years, TIWB has already demonstrated how targeted capacity building can help developing countries ensure that all companies pay their fair share of tax. TIWB has strengthened developing countries’ ability to bolster domestic revenue collection through improved tax audit capacities, consistent with each country’s laws and regulations,” said Bob Hamilton, TIWB Governing Board member and Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency.
South-South deployments are also a growing element of TIWB programmes. Currently, two South-South programmes are running in Botswana and Uganda, with the possibility of several more as Nigeria and South Africa are expected to provide audit experts to other developing countries in the near future.