IFA President: Taxpayers Need a Bill of Rights
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IFA President: Taxpayers Need a Bill of Rights

October 16, 2019

>>AT: Porus, we’ve managed to track you
down again. We talked in your opening yesterday about a charter for taxpayers rights. Is this
something formal, or is it an informal way of bringing the taxpayer into the conversation?>>PK: I think it’s a very important part,
because the entire BEPS debate today is about those so-called bad taxpayers who perhaps
use the system to get a better result. But there are a lot of good taxpayers out there
who do their work and who contribute, and I believe that discussion may also enter the
debate. Secondly, with the huge amount of information that’s going to be available
now over the world, across governments, across revenue authorities, there’s a huge concern
on confidentially, and that is a critical part of the debate. There is nothing that
the taxpayer can do to enforce that confidentially. It can be a peer-review from the government
part, but not from the taxpayer part.>>AT: So how formal is this bill or rights,
and what’s the timing on it?>>PK: It’s really entering the debate,
we are really trying to bring it forward, bring it into the debate, and I think ultimately
it will be for the governments who want to enforce it. But there is a peer review happening
in the global forum on the exchange of information, so it’s there in part, but still restricted
at the government level that taxpayers are still not involved in the process.>>AT: Is it a subtle way – or perhaps not-so-subtle
way – or saying that the OECD’s aggressive tactics need to be balanced?>>PK: I think the OECD is self-conscious
of this, but I think – at the moment – the debate is how to correct the system to prevent
abuse without realizing perhaps that there is a part of the system that’s working and
there is no abuse, and we must recognize that also.>>AT: Have you heard anything from the OECD
on response to this bill of rights suggestion?>>PK: Well, as I said, the global forum is
already conscious. I think there are certain issues…they have peer review, etc. And,
if you remember, some of the countries have gone publicly that if you abuse confidentiality
and we find you leaking the information, we will then suspend cooperation with you. So
I think that system is there, but the taxpayer is still not involved in this process.>>AT: Am I right in saying that the tension
between the taxpayers, the corporates, the multinationals, and the OECD is actually rising?
The tension between IFA and the OECD is rising? And if so, are you worried you’re becoming
a little too political?>>PK: No, there is no tension between IFA
and the OECD. The entire point of IFA is just to bring things to debate, to develop scientifically.
We take no policy issue. We just bring this to the floor. Ultimately, it’s for all the
parties together.>>AT: So Pascal Saint-Amans isn’t sighing
when he hears your opening speech and this charter for taxpayers’ rights idea?>>PK: I don’t think so, I don’t think
so. As I said, we only bring the debate to the floor. Ultimately, it’s for all the
participants to get together.>>AT: I have one last question to get to
you and it’s rather tongue-in-cheek. But I overheard that BEPS is the European retribution
to the U.S. for FACA. What’s your comment on that?>>PK: ::laughs:: Well, I think BEPS was born
not due to FACA. It was born due to the financial crisis and the perceived burden on certain
classes, and what they thought were the corporates getting away. So I think the timing was perhaps
similar, but the birth was completely different.>>AT: Very diplomatic. Porus, thank you very
much indeed.>>PK: Thank you.

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