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Tax Communication: Back to the Future - IOTA Forum on Communication 2021

Adrienn Juhász's picture
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The IOTA Forum on Communication of 2021 took place on 28th-29th April 2021 and was hosted digitally for the second time since the start of the pandemic. This year’s theme was Tax Communication: Back to the Future”. Presenters and participants shared their views and experiences not only about how the communication environment changed in the new reality but also how communications activities need to adapt to the new normal.


Throughout the past year, tax administrations and their communication departments responded to a pandemic crisis while they also adapted their ongoing work and future plans to the new reality. Polarisation of public opinion, the need for fast and up-to-date information, and increased lack of trust towards tax administrations, as well as the spread of fake news, have determined a new environment where tax communication departments are required to adapt. Taking this into consideration, the main theme of the 2021 Forum is “Tax Communication: Back to the Future”.

During the first day’s plenary session, the main subject was ‘New communication in a new reality: current environment and its challenges’ and was covered by three external speakers and a country presentation. More precisely, the first day’s presenters included:

  • Professor Vilma Luoma-aho (Finland): “Authorities are from Mars, Citizens are from Venus?”
  • Professor Gianni Riotta (Italy): “Rebuilding Trust”
  • Professor Nicolas Baygert (Belgium): “Institutional Defiance, Echo Chambering and Disinformation: Public Administrations facing Online Trends”
  • Rosen Bachvarov (Presentation by Bulgaria): “COVID 19 Financial Support Program Communications”

The plenary session was followed by a Q&A session and a group discussion.


The plenary session of the second day discussed ‘Communication tools for coping with the new reality’. Participants discussed strategies that can help communication specialists to operate better in the current communication environment, such as empathy, simplification or digitalisation. Presentations during the second day included:

  • Nilla Hietamäki (Presentation by Finland): “Dialogue with taxpayers”
  • Ivan Portelli (Presentation by Malta): “Communication tools for coping in the New Reality – Malta Experience”
  • Gayane Avagyan and Elena Sagaryan (Presentation by Armenia): “COVID-19: challenge or opportunity in communicating with taxpayers?”

Following an interactive Q&A Session and the forum’s second group discussion, the final plenary session introduced the upcoming IOTA Project on nudging techniques, which is to give insights into taxpayer behaviour and the use of nudging in IOTA member countries.

Presentations, group discussion notes, as well as the video recording of the event, is available to IOTA members on the event’s webpage.