After our inevitable decision to transform all IOTA events into digital format due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the largest and the most important event, the General Assembly, looked different this year and was conducted virtually. All the members of the IOTA Secretariat worked hard in the last months to find and test the best methods to make this event run smoothly and successfully with the most convenient digital and online solutions for presenting, voting and participating in the debates.
The Administrative Session of the 24th General Assembly was held on the 24th of June and the Technical Session followed on the 25th of June 2020, under the professional theme of “Sustainability of tax administration in post COVID-19 times”.
The Administrative Session gathered more than 80 high-rank officials and representatives from the IOTA member tax administrations via video conference.
The Members approved by voting:
- the Internal Auditors Report for 2019
- the Activities Report for 2019
- the Financial Report for 2019
- the reviewed IOTA Strategy 2018-2022
- the proposals of the Subgroups on the Review of Financial Framework and took a note on the Reviewed Technical Activities
- the technical, the procedural and seven substantive amendments to the IOTA Charter as proposed by the Executive Council
The Members also adopted the Budget and the Work Programme for 2021.
The Members decided that the Independent Authority for Public Revenue of Greece will hold the 2020/2021 Presidency in IOTA and the 25th General Assembly of IOTA will be held in Greece. The Professional Theme of the 25th General Assembly will be “Ensuring the most effective use of data in the age of tax transparency”.
The following member countries were elected to the IOTA Executive Council for the term 2020/2021:
Ms. Ia Mikhelidze, from Georgia, was appointed under Article 11.13 as Internal Auditor of the Organisation for a two-year term. Mr. Ivan Stoilov, from Bulgaria, who was appointed as Internal Auditor in last year’s General Assembly, will continue to hold the office during the period between the 24th and 25th General Assemblies.
For more information please find the Resolution of the 24th General Assembly << under this link >>
The Technical Session was broadcasted live for more than 150 registered participants from member tax administrations and IOTA partner organisations. COVID-19 crisis has revealed the extraordinary capability of IOTA member tax administrations to adapt and respond to exceptional challenges. The session offered opportunities for commissioners and senior officials of IOTA members to reflect on the events of the last few months, to get a high-level view of how tax administrations responded to the crisis and to generate ideas for the future of tax administrations in post COVID-19 times.
The live event captured and shared examples from tax administrations of France (Jérôme Fournel, Director General of Public Finances), Italy (Paolo Valerio Barbantini, Deputy Director-General of Italian Revenue Agency), the Russian Federation (Daniil Egorov, Commissioner of the Federal Tax Service of Russian Federation) and Sweden (Katrin Westling Palm, Director General of the Swedish Tax Agency) concerning their innovative responses as well as experiences and insights gained throughout the pandemic. Peter Green, Director of OECD FTA Secretariat, presented how OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) in close collaboration with Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT) and IOTA have been supporting tax administrations globally through the virtual meetings and publication of global reference documents on measures to support taxpayers, business continuity considerations, and recovery planning.
The participants of the Technical Session concluded:
- The crisis has led to an individual and collective experience when it comes to a more agile way of working.
- The crisis demonstrated the benefits of digital service provision and highlighted the challenges that remain for those unable to use digital services. Many tax administrations had already transitioned or accelerated the process of developing digital tax services. It is paramount for tax administrations to continue developing their ability to quickly adapt and change their digital solutions according to new circumstances.
- Tax administrations have new tasks assigned by their governments to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19. These new tasks require to act fast and work in a different way while upholding and delivering on regular responsibilities in order to maintain a well-functioning society.
- Clear and timely communication is key for tax administrations to provide relevant information on their internal and external websites concerning the different measures that are being taken and use a range of communication channels, such as social media, to ensure maximum coverage.
- Digital meetings, being more cost-effective and less time-consuming, can be a useful addition to physical meetings in the future. This will make it possible to strengthen international cooperation even further.
- There is needed for continued cooperation during this unprecedented crisis. IOTA plays an important role in providing opportunities for tax administrations to come together and share the best solutions and the lessons learnt along the way.
A publication will follow the 24th General Assembly of IOTA in a form of an IOTA Book, thus ensuring that the contents and outputs of the work carried out can be preserved and shared amongst members and the whole tax community. For further information about the conclusions of discussions, please see the Communiqué << under this link >> released at the close of the Technical Session.
The presentations and the recorded Technical Session are available to IOTA members (registered users of IOTA website) through the dedicated webpage of the 24th General Assembly of IOTA << under this link >>