Confédération Fiscale Européenne (CFE)

The first edition of this publication was issued as a consultation document, as work in progress. Today, we are proud to publish a definitive version based on consolidated research and the results of consultation with OECD, the European Commission, the UN Tax Committee, national revenues and interested organisations and individuals. We thank them all for their input, time and encouragement.

Much has happened in the tax world since the first publication. We have seen both publication of statements of taxpayer rights and acceptance that the way forward requires the development of codes of practice and ethical behaviour which reflect both rights and responsibilities of taxpayers. Our publication embraces and reflects this changed mood.

A development which requires our attention is the substantial recalibration of international taxation in the context of the OECD-driven BEPS project. Voices from the taxpayer and tax adviser communities have expressed the concern that the BEPS actions lack a counterweight to ensure that taxpayer rights and obligations will remain balanced in the future. We believe that the formal recognition of taxpayer rights and obligations could help maintain this balance.

One specific comment we received wanted to see more emphasis on the role and responsibilities of tax advisers included, to reflect the growing importance of the tax adviser´s role in cooperative compliance which does not replace but complement his traditional role as protector of taxpayer rights. Recognising the value of this suggestion, we have sought to address the issue.

For us this is an inclusion with two benefits. Firstly it is a clear recognition that tax advisers have a core role in dealing with both taxpayer rights and responsibilities, and secondly it gives us an opportunity to set down those parameters within which tax advisers operate.

We know CFE is one of the leading organisations in the world exclusively dealing with the law and practice of tax. This collaboration with AOTCA and STEP reflects the realisation that over the coming decades the evolution of global tax policies will need informed input from tax advisers.

That input will only be possible with both individual initiative and working collaboration. For us that is what this work represents and, as we move forward we will look for other tax issues central to the interests of all to which we can bring our combined resource and expertise.

Henk Koller

President CFE

July 2015