The United Nations Development Program and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have launched a new global initiative to help developing countries bolster their domestic revenues by strengthening their tax audit capacities.

The Tax Inspectors Without Borders program aims to facilitate 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 based on cases in Colombia indicate a significant increase in tax revenue, from USD $3.3 million in 2011 to USD $33.2 million in 2014 with the help of tax audit advice and guidance. The initiative also met with success in Kenya, where $23 million was recovered in a single tax case (see Tax Inspectors Shrug Off Borders to Track Multinational Evasion)

“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 at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “The new partnership between the OECD and UNDP on Tax Inspectors Without Borders will significantly extend the global reach of existing efforts to build audit capacity while sending a strong message of international support to developing countries.”

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.

A TIWB Toolkit sets out guidelines for establishing TIWB programs and protecting against potential confidentiality and conflict of interest concerns. For more information, visit www.oecd.org/tax/taxinspectors.htm.

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