4.5 Past Studies of Taxpayer Charters

Whilst Taxpayer Charters have been the subject of several studies, only four are referenced in this work as being the most recent and most relevant.

The first is the report of the National Review of Standards for the Tax Profession titled "Tax Services for the Public" published by the Australian Government Publishing Service in 1994. This excellent, detailed and comprehensive work is recommended to all who have an interest in this subject not least because it was a joint effort between tax advisors and a tax administration, and was one of the contributing factors in the development of what many consider to be the most practicable and efficient charter yet seen, albeit that (contrary to the recommendations of this work) it is without legal effect.

The second is the report of the work undertaken by the OECD, which whilst relatively concise, summarises many of those items which one would like to include within a charter together with a brief expose of the rationale for having a charter. Examination of this work convinces the reader that for the OECD this is work in progress. Whether for lack of resource, a need to concentrate on more pressing matters or lack of international support at that time, the product of the OECD needs completion.  It is one of the key objectives of our study to encourage the OECD together with other global entities, especially the UN, to take up the challenge and produce a definitive model charter that can be accessed and referenced by all states in the interests of their citizens, taxpayers, tax administrations and tax advisors.

The third work we cite is, in many ways the predecessor of this one. The CFE celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 and marked this with a publication which looked back at the development of tax advisory services over those 50 years and in looking forward chose to examine relations between tax advisors and tax administrators in Europe on a country by country basis with particular regard to Taxpayer Charters.

The detailed examination and analysis of the constituent elements one could see in a charter and how they had been incorporated piecemeal into national tax practice became one of the foundations of the global questionnaire which underpins the survey at the heart of this work.

Finally, we have had regard to the collection of articles compiled by Professor Duncan Bentley. Whilst more academically based than the other works we have mentioned, it contains a great deal of analytical material which provides a sound conceptual base for discussions on the topic. The theoretical bases of Taxpayer Rights analysed in this work not only assisted us in the clarification of our conceptual approaches, but also will provide a useful background for further work on the topic by others.

We acknowledge our debt to these works, commend them to the reader and researcher alike and recognise that, in the journey to achieve a Model Taxpayer Charter, the work that the collective authors of those works have undertaken is an essential component.