At the time When the Uganda Revenue Authority is struggling to tax some multinational companies, an innovative international co-operation initiative that deploys qualified experts in developing countries to strengthen their ability to effectively tax multinational enterprises has achieved significant milestones over the past year, according to a newannual report.
Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is boosting domestic revenue mobilisation by improving tax auditing and tightening compliance efforts across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Increased tax revenues directly attributable to TIWB programmes and TIWB-style support as of April 2018 are estimated at US $ 414 million, according to the report, which documents activities over the second full year of operations under the OECD/UNDP partnership arrangements.
Revenues raised have been about 100 times programme costs, meaning every US dollar spent on TIWB brings in US $100 in additional tax revenues.
TIWB has fully completed 10 programmes, while 34 programmes are ongoing and a further 20 are in the pipeline. TIWB is on track to meet its goal of delivering 100 deployments of tax auditor experts to developing countries by 2020.
Eleven countries have deployed their serving tax officials to provide hands-on, learning-by-doing assistance to auditors in developing countries. New South-South opportunites are being identified, with India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa among those now offering expertise.
TIWB programmes are driven by the needs of host administrations and cover a range of technical issues and industry sectors.Current programmes specialise in risk-based audit case selection, audit processes and negotiation of advance pricing arrangements. Audits under TIWB programmes mainly deal with different issues of transfer pricing and international taxation, including permanent establishment, validation of management and service fees and the valuation of intellectual property.
Audits cover a cross-section of industry sectors including agriculture, construction, financial services, information technology and communications, hospitality, manufacturing and mining.
“Tax Inspectors Without Borders is delivering excellent value for money, and while the immediate impact on revenues is important, we are even more excited about the long-term positive outcomes,” said TIWB Head of Secretariat James Karanja.
“The transfer of skills now underway is driving organisational change in tax authorities worldwide, which will prompt much great taxpayer compliance in the future. We are developing a model for systemic change that puts developing countries in the driver’s seat for better using taxation to raise the revenues so badly needed for economic and social development.”