Interview with Marc Bugnon, President of IOTA

Adrienn Juhász's picture
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Marc, you wanted to come to Budapest, but the COVID-19 situation made that impossible. What was the planned purpose of your visit?

Since the last digital IOTA General Assembly in summer 2021, and since the new Executive Secretary took up her position on 1 September, it has unfortunately not been possible for me to come to Budapest due to the COVID-19 situation. It is important for me to officially meet the new Executive Secretary, Alix Perrignon de Troyes, in person, and to get to know all the members of the IOTA Secretariat. I believe personal contact is necessary, as we work together. I hope that this will be possible again very soon.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

I come from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. I am married and we have two grown-up children. I studied law at the University of Fribourg, and for more than 21 years I have been working for the Federal Tax Administration in different functions. In my free time, I enjoy hiking in the mountains and skiing in winter. I also enjoy discovering new places and meeting new people.

What is your job at the Federal Tax Administration?

Since 2014, I have been the Head of the Main Division for Direct Federal Tax, Anticipatory Tax, Stamp Duty and the International Exchange of Information (DAS). I am also the Deputy Director of the Federal Tax Administration. My unit has nearly 400 employees, who speak different languages and have different professional backgrounds.

How did you get into taxes?

After my law studies, I started as a clerk in the cantonal social security court and then switched to the tax court. The topic was new for me, but I was immediately hooked and I developed a great interest in the subject. After 5 years, I switched to the Federal Tax Administration. I have now been working in the tax field for 26 years.

What do you like about your work?

My work is very diverse. Every day, you are confronted with new issues to be solved and decisions to be taken. The world of tax is constantly evolving. That is what makes it so interesting. I also like the exchange with other colleagues and other tax administrations.

And what are the challenges in your daily business?

Balancing my job as head of the DAS Main Division with maintaining my expertise. My day alternates between technical discussions and management issues in different languages. Another challenge is to consistently involve all stakeholders and interested people in discussions and decisions.

How did you get in touch with IOTA?

As I work for the Federal Tax Administration, I have attended various international tax meetings and congresses, and have represented the Federal Tax Administration in several IOTA workshops. I have also participated in several General Assemblies. I had the pleasure of organising the Technical Sessions for the IOTA General Assembly in 2013 in Bern. Since 2015, I have been responsible for all IOTA-related issues within our administration.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the Federal Tax Administration that you can contribute to IOTA?

I have extensive leadership and management experience with people from different professional backgrounds and with different languages. My knowledge of how a tax administration works, for example as regards processes and staff management, is certainly an asset for the Presidency.

Why did the Federal Tax Administration apply for the IOTA Presidency?

Switzerland has actively supported the work of IOTA for a long time. Every year, we participate in many workshops and we usually host one event in Switzerland. In 2019, Switzerland once again joined the Executive Council because it was important for us to guide the work and decisions of the Organisation and thereby contribute to IOTA's success. After two years on the Executive Council, we were ready and highly motivated to take on the challenge of the Presidency.

What are your priorities during your term as President?

We have three priorities.

Firstly, to prepare IOTA for the time after COVID-19 and to find a new normal. There will certainly be new trends that will be reflected in the Work Programme and we need to be ready to adapt quickly to the changes.

Secondly, to discuss the organisation of the IOTA Secretariat with the new Executive Secretary, including human resources and staff development, to ensure good motivation and a pleasant working environment, in particular.

Lastly, to focus on better promotion of IOTA to the membership in order to increase participation by the DGs, but also to get disconnected members back on board. To achieve this, it is important to have good and interesting onsite high-level events such as the General Assembly and the Annual Conference. Switzerland looks forward to doing this successfully, and we hope to welcome you all next year in Zurich.

What are the issues for IOTA in the next few years?

We have to draw up the new IOTA Strategy for 2023 to 2027. IOTA is also working on a Code of Conduct. Both documents will be presented and hopefully adopted at the next General Assembly. The timeline for both projects is quite short and the work will be intense. In addition, once adopted, they need to be implemented.

Why is IOTA important now and in the future, in your view?

The world is evolving at a rapid pace and this brings many challenges for tax administrations. IOTA can play a crucial role by helping its members to help each other and by sharing experiences and best practices, thereby identifying the best and most appropriate solutions that will help our tax administrations to be always at the forefront.

I am convinced that IOTA will continue to pursue its work successfully in the future, with the contribution of all its members.