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OECD reports on tax administrations

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The OECD has published its sixth comparative survey on advanced and emerging economies, including all OECD, EU, and G20 countries. 56 tax administrations are considered, with new entries for Costa Rica, Croatia, Morocco and Thailand. The key performance trends of these countries and examples of good practice are among the factors examined.

Among the findings and observations, the report in particular highlights:

  • Significant organisational change - 40% of revenue bodies reported that they are currently managing the addition of new business activities, amalgamation with other government service providers, and consolidation of work and their office network, at a time when 60% saw reductions in staffing, with significant reductions in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Strong investment in digital services - average IT expenditure as a percentage of the total budget remained constant at 9.5%. Notable exceptions were Austria, Finland, Singapore and Norway where approximately 25% of the total budget is spent on IT.
  • Better connected e-services, and future opportunity - while 95% of all revenue bodies offer the opportunity to file returns electronically, and over two thirds achieve usage over 75%.
  • Improving outstanding tax debt position - total tax debt for OECD member countries rose marginally in 2011 to 2013, from around 22% to just over 24% of net annual revenue collections. However, seven revenue bodies (Estonia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland) have a collection to debt ratio of less than 5%.
  • Improving management of large taxpayers - over 85% of revenue bodies have adopted the structured ‘co-operative compliance model’ recommended by the OECD, for managing their largest taxpayers. One-third use similar arrangements to manage the tax affairs of High Net Worth Individuals.
  • Greater use of disclosure policies to improve tax compliance and bolster tax revenues.
  • Electronic matching of VAT invoices continues to expand – with growing concerns about the VAT non-compliance, a relatively large number of revenue bodies, including many in Europe and Latin America, are successfully using systems to process bulk VAT invoice data for compliance risk management and fraud detection.

For full report, see