Publication Strategy


IOTA accumulates a lot of knowledge and shares information which is an integral part of the identity and brand of IOTA. However, nowadays tax authorities operate within a rapidly-changing environment, facing several emerging challenges. The present publication service of IOTA needs a revision and adjustment in order to meet the new requirements and in order to serve better the particular needs of the membership: IOTA has to deliver practical and applicable publications for its members.

The publication activity of IOTA has to find more adequate responses and new approaches for giving the community of tax practitioners easier access to knowledge. IOTA also has to identify its scope of publication activity compared to other international organisations.

This strategy aims to describe the main ideas of a more streamlined direction of the publication activity, determine the main objectives we would like to achieve, present how we would like to implement the objectives. It also highlights the audience we would like to reach and serve and demonstrates the channels through which we will deliver our messages in our publications. The strategy includes the following main ideas:

  • A Network of Communication Specialists of IOTA Tax Administrations will be established which will facilitate sharing and gaining information.
  • New channels (new website) will be used for IOTA publications and newsletters to reach out more members and international partners.
  • Publication Disclosure and Information Confidentiality Policy will be developed to ensure responsible handling of data and information provided. The ongoing database projects, such as Knowledge Base, TIP/ISORA makes this issue even more relevant.
  • Annual publication plan will be developed and included in the IOTA Work Programme to make the publication activity more consistent.
  • ‘Highlighted’ events will be specified which would serve as basis for publications.
  • Exact rules and procedures for sponsorship of publications will be set out.

The drafting of the Publication Strategy is also underlined by the IOTA Strategy 2012-17 Objective 3 which emphasizes the need to ‘improve significantly the quality of IOTA publications in order to meet the needs of the membership.’

Main communication goals of IOTA

IOTA’s Publication Strategy contributes to the fulfilment of some of the general communication goals of the organization. The main communication goals of IOTA are:

  • To increase IOTA’s visibility, to share and gain more information
  • To reach target audiences, to deliver useful information
  • To intensify the contribution of members, make cooperation stronger
  • To reach that the new website fulfils its mission: interactive platform for creating and delivering timely information and data



The main objectives of the IOTA Publication Strategy:

OBJECTIVE 1: Maximisation of the impact, relevance and accessibility of IOTA work

Smaller Scale, Pragmatic and Applicable

More concise and high quality publication in a consistent framework with easy access for the relevant groups is the key for improving the IOTA footprint. Release of smaller scale publications containing practical and useful information which is applicable in the everyday work of tax administrations is necessary to meet more the IOTA specific needs

Flagship Product

Definition of a priority publication considered as a flagship product of the organisation is crucial for IOTA to be able to concentrate efforts and resources for the most relevant product: the Best Practice Guide.

Consistent and Planned Publication Activity

The publication activity constitutes to one of the most visible and tangible results of IOTA activities. This is why the publication activity needs to be included into IOTA
Work Programme planning process to ensure consistent delivery and to facilitate use of resources.

Joint Publications

It is important to try to avoid producing publications about issues other international organisations have released earlier. One of the possibilities of avoiding duplications is to release joint publications in relevant subjects, in topics of common interests. International cooperation could be enhanced by complimentary publications activity.

OBJECTIVE 2: Better utilising the knowledge of membership for the common good

Intensified Contributions from Members

Develop efficient methods to increase contribution from membership to producing IOTA publications. The publications (and communications activity) of IOTA has to rely on the wide knowledge and experience of its various members and has to be implemented via common efforts.

New Channels

Develop new channels of sharing information, make it easier to reach, to follow and to contribute to it. The two core channels are the website and the newsletter with up to date and relevant information with emphasis on content instead of procedures.

OBJECTIVE 3: Ensure security of data and information

Secure Data and Information Handling

One of IOTA’s main assets is that it has a vast database and information. However, a significant part of it is not public and unauthorised use and disclosure would harm the interests of taxpayers and the reputation of tax administrations. The ongoing database projects, such as Knowledge Base, TIP/ISORA makes this issue even more relevant. It is also crucial from the perspective of our aim to increase publication contributions from the membership: we have to ensure that the provided data and information will be handled in a responsible way.

Safe Environment

The new website of IOTA provides a safe environment for storing confidential information and database and adequate access levels to different types of information.


It is important to clearly define what the target audience is and what the needs are of the defined target audience(s) and what messages we would like to send. Our four main target audiences are:

Table 1. IOTA Target Audiences

Target audiences Needs

Messages from IOTA
through it publications

Senior management of IOTA tax administrations, with special regard to DG’s to know how others in the same business line use their toolkits to achieve the best possible results (generate revenues) IOTA provides useful information to DGs about proven good practices (success stories) in TA management area
IOTA member states tax practitioners to gain information how to work more efficiently, what best practices are available in a defined area of tax administration (operational level) IOTA provides service, forum for sharing relevant information (outcome of events, existing national projects, etc.)
International partner organisations to have contributions for tackling horizontal and global tax issues IOTA provides expertise and it is a potential partner in the European region
International taxpayer community (academics, businesses, tax advisors) to receive up-to-date information about global or cross border tax issues IOTA provides a forum for expressing the views of the sector and contribute to the establishment of global mechanisms


OBJECTIVE 1 Maximisation of the impact, relevance and accessibility of IOTA work

Modern Information Technology

Using effective and modern informative communication technology tools. Online publications, webinars, videoconferences facilitate sharing of information with external actors.

Annual Publication Plan and ‘Highlighted’ Events

An annual publication plan will be developed and included in the IOTA Work Programme planning process. ‘Highlighted’ events will be specified which would serve as basis for publications.

Network of Communication Specialists of IOTA Tax Administrations

Establish a Network of Communication Specialists of IOTA Tax Administrations. The members of the Network will be chosen by PCP’s from their tax administrations. The work will be led and coordinated by the Secretariat (Communications and Publications Specialist) under supervision of the Executive Secretary. The Network will assist IOTA’s publication activity, such as finding contributors for publications, advising how different target groups could be reached, sending information about relevant and current issues could be the interest of tax administration members, etc.

Increased ownership of the Executive Secretary
Rebalance the responsibilities (decision making, approval, etc.) of publication activity: increase the ownership of the Executive Secretary (and the Secretariat) in defining, launching, producing, monitoring. The EC will approve only the Best Practice Guide. ES will regularly report about the publication activity to EC and to PCP (part of status reports) and they can advise.

OBJECTIVE 2 Better utilising the knowledge of membership for the common good

Sponsorship mechanism

Setting out the exact rules and procedures for sponsorship and co-sponsorship of publications (requirements from sponsors, invitations, evaluation of offers, selection of sponsors, review, signing off by the Executive Council, etc.). It is necessary to link it to the work program and to the Project Management Framework and to incorporate those rules into existing IOTA procedures. Sponsorship means more than offering financial resources: it could be offering human resources (e.g. authors, contributors, editors) from members.

Increased role of the Secretariat

Secretariat will intensify efforts in order to find potential authors. The expertise and networking skills of TAC’s will be more devoted to the publication activity. It is also important to increase feedback from membership, e.g. about follow up of events.

OBJECTIVE 3 Ensure security of data and information

Publication Disclosure and Information Confidentiality Policy

Develop a Publication Disclosure and Information Confidentiality Policy to ensure that the right audience has access to the right information and the collected information is well stored and handled. This policy will describe the classification, treatment and release principles of data and information gathered by IOTA. It will also make differentiation between publications for internal use (members only), for restricted external use (as for e.g. the TIP/ISORA project – sharing info with IMF, OECD etc.) and publication for the general public. This policy deals with different levels of access to the website for users and with different level of information and data stored on the website as well. The policy will be elaborated by a devoted group of experts. The main direction of this policy will be: ‘to keep it simple’: unless there is indication of confidentiality (classification) from the sender, IOTA considers the material public.

The implementation of the objectives will happen on the following channels:
The main channel of implementation and reaching the target audiences with our publications is going to be the new website of IOTA with a dedicated section for publications. This will be an interactive environment, a section which is not static, members will be able to transmit, edit and update material. The website will contain -apart from the section of online publications (such as Tax Tribune, Best Practice Guide)- the following sections for sharing information:

A section will be dedicated to posting single articles (working papers, IOTA studies) as soon as they are ready, in order to increase timeliness and frequency. Those articles will be combined at a later stage for complete publications.

News items will be one of the most important channels of sharing information, with a clear and central position on the homepage of the website and also as a different menu item.

Newsletters will be created again in order to regularly inform our members and partners about our activities ad products.

It is important to send emails about new publications, to distribute newsletters, etc.

IOTA will move towards online publications as it requires less financial sources and at the same time it reaches out wider audience. Consistent online / web presence ensures wider access with less costs. A good online approach also requires specified skills and manpower in order to obtain good results and visibility. It is also important to recognize that the produce of hard copies in certain cases could also fulfil useful purposes (e.g. PR, marketing). Optimal solution is to produce everything in electronic version in the first round and in the second round we produce the necessary number of hard copy samples.