OECD Forum on Tax Administration – 12th plenary meeting in Chile

The OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) was set up in 2002 to allow tax administrations to meet together on a regular basis and to discuss and work on issues of common concern.

Since 2002 the FTA has met 12 times, most recently on 26 – 28 March 2019 in Santiago, Chile.

The four priority issues which were the focus of the 2019 meeting are: 

  • Delivering on BEPS and tax certainty;
  • Improving tax co-operation;
  • Supporting the continued digitalisation of tax administrations; and
  • Building capacity for developing countries.

Seven papers were published to coincide with the meeting of which the Joint Audit and Sharing and gig economy papers are available to buy or view online whereas the other five papers are available to download at the time of writing this report.

One of the papers, dealing with tax debt management, does not fall into the four priority issues: it is entitled Successful tax debt management: measuring maturity and supporting changes The publication contains information about the situation in individual countries and the UK features in the chapters on organisation change and outsourcing, data analytics, e-services and collection enforcement.

The communiqué provides an overview of the meeting, reproduces the meeting Agenda, lists the 46 countries that attended, the  OECD publications and the 2019-20 FTA work programme.

BEPS and tax certainty

There is a tension between the need to tighten up tax systems so that participants in the system pay the correct amount of tax while providing tax certainty of which a key ingredient is to prevent or resolve tax disputes.

FTA will work to improve the consistency and co-ordination of tax risk assessments, advance its work on joint audits Joint Audit 2019 – Enhancing tax co-operation and improving tax certainty  as well as advancing the existing pilot on the work on international compliance working with selected businesses International compliance assurance programme – pilot handbook 2.0 . The FTA MAP (Mutual Agreement Procedure) Forum will work to improve the APA (Advance Price Agreement) process and seek wider use of multilateral MAPs and APAs.

Improving tax co-operation

The FTA believes that CRS (Common Reporting Standard) and the US FATCA have successfully permitted the secure exchange of information facilitated with the OECD Common Transition System. OECD will be reporting to the G20 on this, no doubt at the time of the June Summit. FTA is also working to ensure the effective taxation of entities selling goods and services through the sharing and gig economy by the use of digital platforms. A report The sharing and gig economy: effective taxation of platform sellers contains a number of recommendations: improve evidence about these platforms, develop standard reporting models for tax administrations and include greater exchange of information.

Supporting digital transformation

FTA published three reports. The first showcases the experience of Finland which has replaced its 200 legacy software systems with a Commercial off the shelf product. The second report explores the use of application programming interfaces to link up the data. The final report is how to make cash registers safer from manipulation and fraud.

Introducing a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software solution

Unlocking the digital economy – a guide to implementing application programming interfaces (APIs) in government

Implementing online cash registers: benefits, considerations and guidance

Building capacity

There is a Knowledge Sharing Platform which is only accessible by tax administrations and provides details on information sharing, training and improved co-ordination. There is also the Tax Inspectors without borders programme which is currently supporting 20 tax administrations.

The next meetings of the FTA

These were announced for:

Netherlands                 2020

Singapore                    2021

A quote from Pascal Saint-Amans – Director of OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration

Pascal Saint-Amans who is the Director of Tax at OECD said:

“There is a huge international agenda to ensure fair and effective taxation of multinationals and individuals operating across borders, while delivering enhanced tax certainty to promote growth and investment. Tax administrations sit at the heart of this. The Plenary demonstrated the FTA's resolve to take concrete actions to support the international agenda and to deliver on the high public expectations.”