The Tax Inspectors Without Borders initiative aims to ensure that developing countries collect the taxes due from profits earned by multinational enterprises.
The initiative’s annual report finds increasing demand for TIWB programmes across all regions of the world.
Alongside the additional revenues raised as a result of a TIWB programme, the annual report highlights the many additional core benefits that result from TIWB engagement.
24 September 2019: Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), released its annual report for 2018-2019 on TIWB’s activities from May 2018 to April 2019. Since 2012, TIWB audit assistance has yielded an additional USD 480 million in tax revenue.
In 2015, OECD and UNDP launched the TIWB initiative at the Third Financing for Development (FfD) Conference to strengthen international cooperation on building capacity in developing countries to attain the SDGs. Both the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and the SDGs highlight the importance of tax revenues for development. Tax revenues provide funding for governments to reduce poverty, deliver public services and build physical and social infrastructure for long-term development. The TIWB initiative embeds expert tax auditors in tax administrations in developing countries to build the capacity of local tax officials. The initiative aims to ensure that developing countries collect the taxes due from profits earned by multinational enterprises.
The ‘TIWB Annual Report 2018/2019’ finds increasing demand for TIWB programmes across all regions of the world. In 2016, the TIWB Governing Board set a target of launching 100 TIWB programmes by 2020. By April 2019, TIWB had 88 current, completed and upcoming programmes, indicating that the initiative is “well on its way to achieving this target.” There has also been an increased emphasis on South-South cooperation, with India, Mexico, Morocco and South Africa providing support to the initiative.
Alongside the additional revenues raised as a result of a TIWB programme, the annual report highlights the many additional core benefits that result from TIWB engagement. Tax officials in developing companies are gaining the knowledge they need to “identify when their big taxpayers are not paying the correct amount” as well as the confidence and skills to engage with taxpayers to ensure correct collection of taxes.
The report highlights lessons learned for implementing TIWB programmes around the world, such as the importance of a dedicated, core tax audit team to provide continuity and help institutionalize good practices. Senior-level leadership within host administrations can help insulate auditors from external pressures. Other best practices include aligning legislation with international best practices; involving a second tax expert who knows the local language and culture to help tax audit experts who may not be fluent in the local language; providing remote assistance, including review of cases and support in drafting legislative amendments; and building a community of practice to exchange experiences.
TIWB presented the report during a ministerial panel themed, ‘Tax Inspectors Without Borders: Four Years and Half a Billion Dollars Later,’ which convened on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). TIWB Governing Board Co-Chairs Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General, and Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, presented the TIWB’s findings. Participants discussed the strengths and opportunities of the TIWB approach, and shared lessons on capacity development for domestic resource mobilization. [Publication: TIWB Annual Report 2018/2019] [UNDP Press Release in Advance of Report Release] [Event Webpage] [TWIB Website]