IOTA Annual International Conference “Building a Hybrid Tax Administration for Greater Agility and Resilience in a Changing World”

Erika Szabó's picture
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On 18th-19th October 2022, in collaboration with the Independent Authority for Public Revenue of the Hellenic Republic (IAPR) IOTA had the pleasure of organising the Annual International Conference in Athens, Greece. One of the main events of the year brought together an exciting mix of speakers, high-ranking officials from our partner organisations (CIAT, European Commission, IMF), the business community and academic society along with the representatives of IOTA member tax administrations to foster a debate on “Building a hybrid tax administration for greater agility and resilience in a changing world”.

After almost three years of uncertainty, the Annual Conference returned to a new normal with its recently developed hybrid format and welcomed more than 80 guests gathering personally at the foot of the Acropolis, in addition over 80 prominent attendees and tax practitioners joining digitally to the entirely new experience. This year’s Annual Conference was opened by Alix Perrignon de Troyes, Executive Secretary of IOTA and Giorgos Pitsilis, Governor of IAPR. The leaders welcomed the attendees, outlined the agenda and highlighted the objectives of the event.

The first plenary session of the Annual Conference ran under the theme of “Building an agile hybrid tax administration” where the keynote speakers from our partner organisations including Maria Elena Scoppio, European Commission, DG TAXUD (attended online), Debra Adams, International Monetary Fund along with Raul Zambrano, Centro Interamericano de Administraciones Tributarias - CIAT provided international perspectives with the factors and conditions determining the agility of a tax administration, including the effects of the latest technological developments along with the challenges arising from the post-pandemic period and global high-impact events.

The second plenary session of the day focused on "Developing a hybrid strategy that works for tax administration". Hybrid transformation depends upon being able to view the whole landscape, recognise the complex and intricate ways in which everything connects and unite the organisation behind a clear strategy. During this session our keynote speakers Heli Marttinen, Finnish Tax Administration, and Brian Boyle, Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Ireland looked into the examples of the developed hybrid organisation strategies and shared insights on how to design and deliver a strategy for the practical, achievable hybrid transformation in a tax administration including the following presentations: “Finnish Tax Administration's journey towards customer-centered hybrid organization” presented by Heli Marttinen, “Strategy and Agility: tested in crisis” presented by Brian Boyle.

Furthermore, participants were actively involved in parallel sessions during the event. Each breakout session had a thematic stream on specific experiences, case studies, examples of methods and solutions illustrating how IOTA member countries can align their organisations’ performance and operate closely to/with the customer, especially in volatile environments (Tomas Algotsson Swedish Tax Agency), how the latest technological developments can be an enabler to foster collaboration and stay productive in the new way of working (David Chitaishvil – Georgia Revenue), and last but not least why consider implementing the hybrid work model, and how digital transformation can help to navigate the workplace in the future (Teresa Díaz-Miguel – Spanish Tax Agency, dr. Panagiotis Ballas – IAPR, Harrys Tsavdaris – Microsoft). These sessions also included a panel debate and delegates could raise questions during the Q&A and reflect on their experiences.

The hybrid tax administration: challenges and opportunities” was the theme of the last plenary session of the day which opened the floor for a panel debate focusing on what form of hybrid would be useful for a tax administration and what is the role of leadership in fostering collaboration, connection and digital culture in an agile environment. The discussion was led by Eugenijus Soldatkovas - IOTA Secretariat, while Paolo Valerio Barbantini – Italian Revenue Agency, Karl Wappel – Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, along with Philippe Abgottspon – Swiss Federal Tax Administration joined the conversation as panellists.

The second day of the Annual Conference explored the advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid organisation with Christos Kotsogiannis, Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC), IAPR on the stage addressing the future role of the audit and the implications for tax compliance from moving into a digitalized world and a hybrid working environment. This was followed by the panel debate with the participation of Božidar Kutleša, Tax Administration of Croatia, George Pitsilis, the Public Revenue of Greece and Brian Boyle, Office of the Revenue Commissioners sharing success stories on how to alter an existing, conventional tax administration into a process-centered, highly standardized and efficient as well as customer-centered, highly connected, effective and agile organisation.

The closing keynote of the event gave insight into the Future of a Hybrid Tax Administration. This session was led by Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD Tax and provided an international perspective on how tax administrations can adapt to the big trends affecting future work, changing the international taxation environment, in addition, to adopt the use of the latest technology across the board to make it more effective.

All material, presentations  and video recordings (to be uploaded soon) from the sessions are available to registered IOTA members through the dedicated webpage of the IOTA Annual International Conference.

A special thanks to our keynote speakers for their insightful presentations along with the Independent Authority for Public Revenue of the Hellenic Republic (IAPR) for hosting this years’ IOTA Annual International Conference in Athens, Greece, and helping us to make it happen.