Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a new initiative to help developing countries bolster domestic revenues by strengthening their tax audit capacities.
The initiative was announced late Monday at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia..
The Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) project was welcomed by stakeholders from business, civil society, as well as OECD and developing country governments attending the Conference.
They said the initiative would help countries to mobilize much-needed domestic revenues in support of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
According to a statement from the UNDP, the TIWB will facilitate targeted tax audit assistance in developing countries worldwide. Tax audit experts will work alongside local officials of developing country tax administrations to help strengthen tax audit capacities, including issues concerning international tax matters.
A number of pilot projects and international tax workshops are already underway, including in Albania, Ghana and Senegal.
Evidence gathered from real time cases in Colombia indicate a significant increase in tax revenue in Colombia, from US$3.3 million in 2011 to US$33.2 million in 2014 thanks to tax audit advice and guidance.
“The challenges faced by developing countries are being acknowledged internationally and we are delighted to mobilise the best experts worldwide in a practical contribution to domestic resource mobilisation,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said during a launch event in Addis Ababa.
“Effective domestic resource mobilization is at the core of financing for sustainable development. But efforts to raise domestic resources are often constrained by tax evasion and avoidance, and by illicit financial flows,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.
“The Tax Inspectors Without Borders programme is an innovative and practical way of supporting developing countries to mobilize more domestic resources for development. With its country level presence and local knowledge, UNDP is well-placed to partner with the OECD and the best audit experts to scale-up this important work. TIWB can support countries to realise the post-2015 agenda,” Clark said.
Going forward, a dedicated central organizing unit, the TIWB Secretariat, supported by an oversight board of stakeholders, will operate as a clearing house to match the demand for auditing assistance with appropriate expertise.
The Secretariat, composed of OECD and UNDP staff and based at the OECD in Paris, will facilitate full-time or periodic deployment of experts.