While doing my readings for my doctoral dissertation research, I came across the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) program. This is relevant to my proposed topic for my Doctoral in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), in its pursuit of its enforcement activities, may also consider tapping this TIWB program.
This TIWB is a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This program provides assistance to tax authorities in several areas, including international tax audits, criminal tax investigations, effective use of automatically exchanged tax information, use of digital tools and technology for tax audits, specialized industry audits, and auditing digital trade. These are all initiatives that the BIR is pursuing, including its Run After Fake Transactions, transfer pricing audits, Run After Tax Evaders, Reconciliation of Listings for Enforcement for its Letter Notice verification, and others.
The TIWB deploys tax experts to developing country tax administrations to provide hands-on assistance on current audit methodologies and related international tax issues. These TIWB tax audit experts work directly with local officials in the Host Administrations on ongoing audits and formulation of audit-related policies and training programs. To date, the TIWB programs have covered 59 countries, with 63 completed and 54 ongoing assistance. In the Asean, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand have ongoing engagements with TIWB.
Developing country tax administrations may request TIWB program assistance by creating an account on the TIWB Portal (https://portal.tiwb.org/en-US/) and using the TIWB Assistance Request Form. The form allows Host Administrations to communicate key information about the desired scope of the TIWB program and the topics for capacity building.
In the latest 2022 Annual Report of TIWB, the Philippines is included in the list of the 50 jurisdictions where there is potential for TIWB.(https://www.tiwb.org/resources/reports-case-studies/tax-inspectors-without-borders-annual-report-2022.pdf)
There are good opportunities for the BIR to gain in its tax enforcement thrusts if it is able to proceed with a TIWB engagement. I will also directly benefit as I can further research for my doctoral dissertation this BIR-global partner collaboration as a transformation measure in the enforcement activities of the BIR.
Joel L. Tan-Torres was the former Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business. Previously, he was the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, and Tax partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co. and the SyCip Gorres and Velayo & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant who garnered No. 1 in the CPA Board Examination of May 1979. He is now back to his tax and consultancy practice and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and his firm JL2T Consultancy.