Programme of the NTO conference

The NTO is delighted to welcome you during our 1st NTO Technical Conference in October 2021. In the following, we would like to introduce you to our session descriptions.

Day One: Tuesday 19 October 2021 (02:30-06:30pm CEST)

“International developments and existing challenges” 

Opening and welcome  (02:30-03:30pm CEST)


  • Moderator: Dr. Melinda Crane, Deutsche Welle  

High-level opening remarks  

  • Dr. Maria Flachsbarth | Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development 

  • Carlos Lopes | Professor at the Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Capetown 

  • Ruud de Mooij | Advisor to the Immediate Office of the Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF) 

  • Irene Ovonji-Odida | Advocate and Member of the UN FACTI High Level Panel and the AU/ECA High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa 

Welcome by the NTO Council 

  • Márcio Ferreira Verdi | Head of the NTO Council and CIAT Executive Secretary  

NTO Conference Video 

Opening Panel: Tax administrations in the fight against Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) – a first high-level overview (03:45-05:00pm CEST)

Moderator: Dr. Melinda Crane

IFFs include revenues from illegal activities such as tax evasion, international bribery and corruption, among others. National efforts alone are not sufficient to combat them. Therefore, several initiatives have joined forces to combat IFFs and to mobilize domestic revenues by implementing respective standards and national policies. Tax administrations (TA) ensure the application of new regulations in practice. Thus, they are one of the key actors in setting up the legal framework and applying the legislation effectively. However, there are numerous challenges TA must face.  

The purpose of the first panel is to set the floor for the whole conference and give all participants an overview of illicit financial flows and their implications on the work of tax administrations. 

 Sessions (05:15-06:15pm CEST)


Session 1A

The role of beneficial ownership (implementation, register, etc.) in combating tax crimes

When Beneficial Ownership information is available, owners cannot disguise their activities and hide their assets and the financial trail from law enforcement authorities using layers of legal structures spanning multiple jurisdictions. The availability of beneficial ownership information is a key requirement of international tax transparency and the fight against tax evasion and other financial crimes 

The attendees of this breakout session will benefit from hearing first-hand experiences of tax administrations and other institutions working to implement beneficial ownership legislation, regulations and registers. The speakers of the session will present country specific cases that have advanced and further benefited from their registers and gain a view on successes and challenges that were overcome. 

Session 1B

Financing of terrorism, money laundering and tax evasion: what is the effective response from tax administrations?  

The combat of money laundering and terrorist financing contributes to improving global security, integration of the international financial system and sustainable growth of the countries’ economies creating conditions for social development. 

This session will specify possible issues that tax administrations (TA) are facing and there will be an exchange of practical experiences on how each type of IFFs affect and is dealt with by TAs.  

The participants will talk about the common most challenging cases and best practices of identifying and combatting them from tax administration point of view.  

The session will feature unique experience of benchmark institutions in the fight against financial crimes: USA 

Internal Revenue Service, Italian Guardia di Finanza, and Brazilian Federal Revenue Secretariat. Indonesia will present their rich experience and successes in implementing digital forensic activities, focusing on the approach and results it can bring in calling out uncomplying taxpayers and thus recovering revenues. 

Day 2: Wednesday 20 October 2021 (02:30-06:30pm CEST)

“Best practices of inter-institutional cooperation on the fight against illicit financial flows” 

Plenary session: How can international cooperation contribute to combating IFFs? (02:40-03:55pm CEST)

IFFs have a global dimension and affect every economy, large and small. To ensure effective response to IFFs, authorities, institutions and national governments must understand the importance of international cooperation among a variety of public entities and stakeholders to fight tax and other financial crimes across national boundaries. This fight requires national cooperation among different institutions involved in the fight as well as regional and international cooperation among jurisdictions. It is therefore in the best interest of world’s economies, especially developing countries, to coordinate their resources, laws, mechanisms and efforts in combating IFFs globally. 

The purpose of this session is to discuss the forms and limits of international cooperation, obstacles and way forward in improving international cooperation among governments, tax authorities, financial intelligence agencies and other institutions. Speakers from various organisations, e.g. national revenue authorities, networks and international initiatives fighting for tax justice, among others, will provide valuable insights into how successful tax administrations have been in making use of the increased transparency and global data availability. Speakers will also discuss how to facilitate such cooperation and how to overcome common challenges.  

 Sessions (04:10-05:10pm CEST)


Session 2A

International cooperation: Cooperation between tax administrations 

Tax administrations (TA) do not only have a crucial role in collecting tax revenues but also in the ecosystem of actors combatting tax-related IFFs. Their access to tax and fiscal data as well as their know-how in tax matters put them at the forefront of the detection and conviction of fraud and harmful transactions. Nevertheless, TA face various obstacles ranging from constraints on information exchange to the lack of analytics tools or trained staff.  

Based on the specific cases from tax administrations, this breakout will discuss various aspects of international cooperation and its major challenges. The presenters of this break-out session will focus on country-specific issues that are most relevant to their tax administrations and highlight strategies to overcome these obstacles.  

Analysing cases of successful transnational cooperation between tax administrations and drivers of their success will allow to derive useful lessons for robust future cooperation for the attendees.   

Session 2B

Regional and national cooperation: Cooperation between tax administrations and other institutions 

Inter-agency cooperation is crucial in disrupting the proliferation of illicit financial flows across national borders. Strategies for that may involve several government agencies: tax authority, financial intelligence agency, customs authority, anti-money laundering agencies, the police and specialized law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating corruption offences and the public prosecutor’s office and financial regulators.   

However, linkages between these pillars are not always well-established; information gathered by revenue authorities is often limited for usage by others, and bank secrecy prevents crucial exchanges among the agencies to pinpoint and capture the offender.  

The objective of this case-based session is to discuss the importance, specific cases and major obstacles to inter-agency cooperation in combating illicit financial flows by examining various aspects of cooperation (e.g. legal/ad-hoc frameworks, priorities, available resources, etc…). The session will also highlight strategies to overcome these obstacles. The representatives of tax authorities and other agencies will focus on country-specific issues and success stories from their experience of interagency cooperation. 

Sessions (05:20-06:20pm CEST)


Session 2C

Digital tools for tackling tax fraud evasion and other tax-related IFFs. 

Constantly changing complexity and nature of IFFs as well as new forms of tax crime require innovative methods to combat tax fraud. Based on global data and intelligence from numerous sources, technology can support criminal investigation and improve intelligence programs in reducing transnational tax crime, cybercrime and money laundering. 

This session is aimed at showcasing new digital tools and approaches developed by tax authorities and other stakeholders to increase cross-border collaboration in the fight against international and transnational tax crime and money laundering.  

Honduras will present their practice in implementing a digital tool and share knowledge on developments of Latin American Countries in the framework of the Punta del Este Declaration, an Latin American Initiative to tackle tax evasion, corruption and other financial crimes through transparency and exchange of information (EOI) for tax purposes.  

UK is invited to share experience of using the FCI NET, a decentralised computer system enabling agencies fighting financial economic crime to search for data on their suspects in a privacy friendly way. 

Session 2D

Enforcement of tax compliance in the digital space 

New business models and actors (e.g. digital platforms, intermediaries, etc.) play an important role in facilitating e-commerce, communication, providing entertainment, information, social networking etc. without having any physical link in the jurisdiction of taxation. Thematic social websites and mobile applications are increasingly spreading where hidden business transactions can be conducted through intermediaries or directly between the service provider and its customer.  

This makes it difficult for tax administrations to conduct traditional compliance actions to ensure that digital economy businesses are accounting for their correct tax liabilities. Tax authorities have to keep the pace with this new economic environment, using the advantages and tools of the IT technology. They have started extensively to utilize advance data analytics in controlling both the digital and “traditional” economy. 

The objective of this session is to explore effective solutions implemented by tax administrations concerning the detection and prevention of new VAT fraud schemes facilitated by digital platforms selling goods. The session will also raise awareness about new types of VAT fraud schemes emerging in the digital economy and identify examples of effective use of available databases. 

Representatives of the Italian Revenue Agency and French tax administration will present the IOTA Project on detection and prevention of VAT fraud involving digital operators and Chile will talk about their recent successes in implementation of VAT on digital services and ensuring compliance in this sphere.  

Day 3: Thursday 21 October 2021 (02:30-06:30pm CEST)

“Lessons learnt and way forward” 

Plenary session: Critical areas in the current methods of combating economic and financial crimes (02:40-03:40pm CEST)

According to the IMF and World Bank, criminals launder an estimated amount from two to nearly four trillion dollars each year. The complex and cross-sectorial nature of IFFs is given by their origins in the corruption of public and private activities; organized crime; tax evasion, and money laundering, among others. 

It requires policymakers to provide the legal and regulation framework, and national operational agencies and stakeholders to have a more strategic overview and tools to combat economic and financial crimes and IFFs. 

The tools are available and constantly develop on both local and international levels, but there is still much to be done in their improvement, in increasing their use and efficiency and in developing new ones.  

What are the minimum standards and regulations nee 

ded to address tax crime? What are the main challenges in regarding digital space and technologies? Which instruments are underused? What are the untapped potentials? 

These questions and others will be discussed based on tax administrations’ experiences on methods and tools to address financial crime and IFFs with specific focus on gaps and critical areas together with the standard setters’ perspective.  

Plenary session: International development efforts in ensuring developing countries’ access to global tax initiatives (03:55-04:55pm CEST)

Global solutions are necessary to facilitate transparency and cross-border cooperation and coordination. The following initiatives from around the world have emerged as e.g. standard setters and custodians of these international standards to identify global solutions to crack down on IFF: UN High Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI),  Financial Action Task Force (FATF), OECD Global Forum, OECD`s Task Force on Tax Crimes and Other Crimes (TFTC), and Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), among others. Nevertheless, joining such initiatives and implementing their standards does not come without costs.  

Therefore, the aim of the panel is to discuss the opportunities and limits of becoming part of these initiatives, identify potentials for improvements regarding inclusiveness and the role of tax administrations. Representatives from tax administrations and speakers from international institutions, i.e. OECD, invite you to a joint discussion. 

Closing panel: Role of the NTO and tax organizations in the fight against tax-related IFFs and in strengthening international cooperation (05:10-06:10pm CEST)

Tax administrations have a crucial role to play in the fight against tax-related IFFs. They are strategic to provide needed resources, an adequate institutional set-up and processes that enable coordination with other relevant entities and players regionally and internationally. Tax organisations are, in their turn, created to support tax administrations in this process and strengthen their capacities. The NTO offers a platform for regional and international tax organisations and its members to stay on top of current challenges and effective instruments to combat IFFs. 

Speakers from NTO member organisations and representatives of international initiatives will reflect on their takeaways from the conference and views on the way forward for tax organisations and NTO to contribute to strengthening coordination and global effort in the fight against tax crime. 

Closing remarks by panellists 

Closing of the 1st NTO Technical Conference (06:10-06:30pm CEST)

We invite you to reflect on the past conference days while enjoying the performance of a talented musician.

A summary and more information about the event can be found here.