International tax standards examined at ATAF’s Global Tax Governance Workshop

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  • 11 Apr 2022
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The context of ATAF’s Global Tax Governance Workshop was to create an awareness amongst tax administrations on how the global tax governance architecture has emerged.

PRETORIA – In the wake of increasing and sustained public attention to the role that international taxation plays in determining economic, social and political outcomes in society, the future of the international tax system are up for debate among a broad community. Therefore, global tax governance remains high on the international and various national political agendas.

To this end, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) in collaboration with Leiden University conducted a Global Tax Governance Workshop from 2 February to 23 March 2022.

Countries who took part in this workshop included Eswatini, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

According to an ATAF and Leinden University paper titled Navigating Global Tax Governance: A workshop with African Tax Administration Forum, global tax governance is important because of the following: First, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, many states saw their public debt rise to high levels and could no longer afford to forgo tax revenues lost to international tax evasion and avoidance. Second, political initiatives fuelled by tax scandals such as Offshore Leaks and the Panama Papers, raised public awareness and garnered media attention.

The context of ATAF’s training was to create awareness amongst tax administrations on how the global tax governance architecture has emerged and show the organisation’s role in such processes.

An ATAF publication titled – The place of Africa in the shift towards Global Tax Governance: Can the taxation of the digitalised economy be an opportunity for more inclusiveness – provides an overview of the current international tax governance landscape and inroads towards inclusiveness. It argues that although the governance process is transparent, efforts to establish a true international tax governance through the Inclusive Framework for BEPS Implementation are foiled by challenges hampering African countries to participate on an “equal footing.” 

Additionally, the collaboration with Leiden University made it possible for ATAF to leverage on key research insights, which will be used going forward as a backdrop to further ATAF initiatives in this area.

Participants also discussed the content of international tax standards and analysed the policy objectives and strategies pursued by different international and regional organisations, such as the United Nations, the OECD, the EU, among others, in the process.

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