| Platform for the Collaboration on Tax is a new entry this year|
With international tax issues high on the global agenda like never before, the Platform for Collaboration on Tax was a welcome tool to encourage cooperation on tax issues, launched by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the OECD, the UN and the World Bank Group in April 2016.
The Platform was established to spur regular discussions between the four global organisations on the design and implementation of standards for international tax matters. The hope is that this increased engagement and communication will strengthen their ability to provide capacity-building support to developing countries, and develop combined guidance to support governments in addressing tax challenges.
The OECD's BEPS Project has given governments and businesses an idea of what a globally aligned tax system would be like. The Platform aims to build on this premise by working to unify tax systems with global standards for policies and administration. Its work on bolstering international cooperation on taxation has made a mark on the tax community at a profound time.
In July, the Platform released the report, entitled "Enhancing the effectiveness of external support in building tax capacity in developing countries", in response to a G20 request from February 2016. The G20 asked the Platform to "recommend mechanisms to help ensure effective implementation of technical assistance programmes, and recommend how countries can contribute funding for tax projects and direct technical assistance, and report back with recommendations at our July meeting". The report pointed to several key enablers to building tax capacity:
- A coherent revenue strategy;
- A strong coordination among providers;
- A strong knowledge and evidence base;
- A strong regional cooperation and support; and
- A strengthened participation between developing countries on international rule setting.
The report recommended a number of measures that support the enablers. The "ambitious" recommendations set out in the report are, according the Platform, "appropriately so, given the commitment to substantially step up support for the OECD in the tax area. It will be important to take stock of their implementation and effectiveness".
However, the report is just the beginning. The Platform will continue to deliver on its objectives to produce concrete joint outputs and deliverables under an agreed work plan to strengthen dynamic interactions between standard setting, capacity and technical assistance, and to share information on activities more systematically.
This amplified emphasis on taxation will undoubtedly continue to drive change and modernisation in tax policies and administration. The Platform's efforts to harmonise the global tax system, therefore, should not go unnoticed.
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