4.8 Should the Taxpayer Charter Apply to All Taxes?

Our survey results indicate that there is no reason why a Taxpayer Charter should not apply to all taxes, and there would seem to be no merit in the suggestion that income taxes, for example, should be subject to the provisions of the Taxpayer Charter while other taxes, such as estate taxes or VAT, should not. Equally important is that the provisions of the Taxpayer Charter should apply to taxes levied by all levels of government. In many countries, taxes are levied at various levels which may include the federal level, the state, Canton or provincial level, the city or municipal level, and so forth.  It is acknowledged that this may require formal adoption of a Taxpayer Charter by various levels of government through distinct legislative processes.

The failure to adopt a Taxpayer Charter at all level of taxation creates an uneven playing field where, for example, a Taxpayer Charter adopted federally might not apply at the state level. Taxpayers and tax advisors form a view of dealing with all tax matters, and the overall tax system, in evaluating the overall fairness and effectiveness of the system. It is acknowledged, however, that in countries where the legislative process of enacting and enforcing tax laws occurs at many levels, this may be a challenging undertaking. The U.S. would offer a good example where international tax treaties are followed at the federal level and by certain states, but not by others. Enactment of a Taxpayer Charter may be a long process, but it nevertheless needs to start somewhere, however challenging the ultimate process might be.