How can we better help governments to help citizens? Seeking feedback on best practices in building tax capacity

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In April, the World Bank Group joined forces with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations (UN) to form the Platform for Collaboration on Tax with the aim of providing better coordination and support to developing countries on tax matters. Among the responsibilities of this new group are to formalize regular discussions among our organizations on standards for international tax issues, strengthen our capacity-building support, deliver joint guidance, and share information on our ongoing work.
To that end, we have produced a short guidance note that we expect to present to the G20 in July: “Report on Effective Capacity Building on Tax Matters in Developing Countries”. In preparing this note, our experts have compiled research, reached into their extensive experience on the ground, and incorporated comments from country-level practitioners at a number of meetings – in Tanzania, South Korea, and Washington, D.C. – that were designed to highlight the developing-country perspective. But we know there is more to learn, and before we finalize this note, we would like to hear from you, whether you are a representative from a civil society organization, a tax official, or a citizen who is interested in how your government sets and collects taxes.
Deadline: July 8
Where to send feedback:
Next steps: Keep your eye on this space. While we are setting a short deadline for this particular project, we hope to keep the conversation going, and will engage with you on many of the initiatives we have planned.

G20 Finance Ministers, in their communique of February 2016, called upon the IMF, OECD, UN and World Bank Group to “recommend mechanisms to help ensure effective implementation of technical assistance programs, and recommend how countries can contribute funding for tax projects and direct technical assistance, and report back with recommendations” at their July meeting. The four organizations, working jointly as the members of the new Platform for Collaboration on Tax—drawing on their individual experiences in delivering technical advice and their interactions with other providers of technical assistance, development partners, and especially country governments—have developed a series of recommendations and enabling actions in response to this request, which are laid out in this draft summary document. The Platform organizations seek comments from interested stakeholders on these recommendations by July 8.  A longer underlying analysis, and supporting examples, will be included in the final report to the G20, which will take account of comments received in this consultation. This will be submitted for the July G20 Finance Ministers meeting.
The attached draft seeks to identify core elements of successful tax capacity building programs, as well as the enabling factors that help to produce such successes. The paper emphasizes the need for a supportive political and social environment for reform at the country level—to ensure a country-led reform supported by all key stakeholders: leading government officials, political and business leaders, civil society and the citizenry more generally. The international organizations and G20 countries must help to build this through well-designed support for revenue reform initiatives, including through the inclusion of appropriate incentives. Coherent revenue reform strategies are needed as part of development financing plans—as recognized in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda a year ago. And cooperation and collaboration among development partners—including regional tax organizations--at the country level will become even more important with the anticipated scaling up of support for work on tax capacity building. Further inclusion of developing countries in international discussions will help to foster the needed environment for revenue policy and administrative reforms.
Questions to consider

  1. The attached paper emphasizes the need for country-led and coherent revenue reform strategies, implemented over a period of years by committed governments providing sustained and visible political support, to underpin successful revenue improvement efforts. Does the draft imply the proper balance of roles for governments, technical development assistance providers, donor countries and agencies, and other stakeholders in this process?
  2. The paper emphasizes that both technical skills and especially managerial knowledge/skills are critical to success (Enabler 1.2). Do you agree that the latter are important and if so, do you have thoughts on how development partners can best assist countries to develop, retain and bring to bear such managerial skills?
  3. Are current tools for the effective measurement and evaluation of capacity support adequate (Enablers 2.2; 3)? If not, what can countries and development partners do to further improve their design and expand their use?
  4. Are there other factors not mentioned, or not sufficiently emphasized, in the paper that you think are important for successful capacity building and revenue system reforms?
Please do not restrict yourself to these questions; any other views you have on facilitating more effective capacity building by concerned governments and their development partners are sought.
Please respond with comments to: This is a common comment box for all the Platform organizations.

Note: The blog post is authored by Jim Brumby on behalf of other representatives of the Platform.


Jim Brumby

Senior Adviser, Governance

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