The Network of Tax Organisations (NTO) organised its 1st Technical Conference over the course of three days in an online format, including interactive panels and sessions in English that were simultaneously translated into French and Spanish. The conference was organised by the NTO Secretariat – facilitated by the International Tax Compact (ITC) – in collaboration with NTO member organisations and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Under the theme “Building stronger partnerships to fight tax-related Illicit Financial Flows (IFF’s)”, the 1st NTO Conference brought together member tax administrations of the nine NTO regional and international tax organisations, international stakeholders, and academia and served as a starting point for further discussion on exchanging good practices to fight tax-related IFFs on the global level. Furthermore, it also served as a space for identifying and exploring future contributions of the NTO and its member organisations to promote and advocate for international, South-South, and inter-institutional cooperation between revenue administrations and other government institutions in combating tax-related IFFs.
The 1st NTO Technical Conference provided an inclusive platform and interactive environment that enabled in-depth exchanges of experiences and best practices between policymakers and tax practitioners for broad-based discussions on the latest international developments in tackling tax offenses.
On the first day, a main takeaway from the opening panel was the importance of sharing experiences, knowledge, information among tax agencies, administrations, and other relevant tax authorities. There was a high level of consensus on the necessity of local, regional, and international cooperation and collaboration. Furthermore, panellists highlighted capacity building in jurisdictions and, in particular, tax administrations as an important measure to fight tax frames and IFFs. In the following sessions, participants addressed the role of Beneficial Ownership (BO) in combating tax crimes, as well as effective responses from tax administrations to illegal activities. Another group of experts further discussed how tax administrations can contribute to global security and simultaneously foster sustainable growth of economies when combating threads such as financing terrorism, money laundering, and tax evasion.
In the course of the second day, the speakers debated on how to shape international cooperation and discussed current challenges, such as secrecy, conflict of interest, communication and trust. The second day was also dedicated to discussing the usage of digital tools for tackling tax crime. “Digital tools are essential to combat tax evasion and tax fraud. However, there should be a strong political will, capacity building and budgetary resources to invest”, an attendee commented, outlining the active role of the government in fostering the implementation and usage of digital tools.
On the last day, participants were invited to review lessons learnt and discuss ways forward to continue the fight against financial crimes. Panellists discussed the role of the NTO and tax organisations in the fight against tax crimes and in strengthening international cooperation. Overall, the NTO added a great value to providing a platform for regional, national and global cooperation, as well as facilitating the exchange of information and strengthening administrative and IT capabilities.
This conference resulted in an outcome document with key take-aways, interviews with keynote speakers, and central messages from panels that will advance discussions within the regional and international tax networks and national revenue authorities, bringing the global effort to the next level.