On 8-10 October 2019, the 5th Regional Meeting of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS for Eurasian Countries took place in Baku, hosted by the Ministry of Taxes of the Republic of Azerbaijan in collaboration with IOTA and the OECD. More than 70 senior tax officials from 14 countries, together with representatives from international and regional organisations, business, civil society and academia discussed the implementation of the BEPS measures and shared their experiences and challenges in the implementation process, as well as the opportunities offered by a consistent implementation.
Participants included senior officials from ministries of finance and tax administrations from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Jordan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Romania, Serbia and the Slovak Republic, as well as representatives from the Asian Development Bank, Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus, PwC, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, McKinsey & Company, chambers of commerce (German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce, American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan-France Chamber of Commerce and Industry), and the Azerbaijan State University of Economics.
Ilkin Valiyev, Deputy Minister of Taxes of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD opened the meeting highlighting the importance of international tax co-operation and tax compliance in addressing the challenges posed by the shadow economy. Deputy Minister Valiyev reported on Azerbaijan’s commitment to fight tax evasion by the introduction in 2017 of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for the automatic exchange of financial account information on a global level. He also emphasised Azerbaijan’s introduction of transfer pricing rules in 2017 and expressed Azerbaijan’s interest in joining the Inclusive Framework on BEPS (IF).
The meeting was co-chaired by Orkhan Musayev from the Ministry of Taxes of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Wolfgang Büttner, International Taxation Expert from the IOTA Secretariat who welcomed the participants, emphasising that the main objectives of the meeting were to exchange views, best practices, opportunities and challenges.
Wolfgang Büttner explained why IOTA is engaging in the Inclusive Framework, since it is IOTA’s mission to support its members’ development and provide opportunities to strengthen their collaboration. He also outlined IOTA’s capacity building activities and IOTA’s technical assistance projects for the member tax administrations in partnership with other stakeholders.
Melinda Brown, Senior Advisor from the OECD Secretariat presented the objectives of the meeting and elaborated on its agenda, underlining the relevance of the regional tax organisations, namely IOTA, for the Inclusive Framework to achieve its purposes.
The meeting addressed the latest developments in the Inclusive Framework, including the tax work related to the digitalisation of the economy, the state of play in the implementation of the BEPS four minimum standards, recent developments regarding toolkits and capacity building, and the signing of the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) to implement tax-treaty related BEPS measures. Participants also worked together on practical case studies on Country-by-Country Reporting (BEPS Action 13) and on preferential tax regimes (BEPS Action 5).