Customs-Tax cooperation highlighted at the Lisbon Tax Summit

26 October 2018

At the invitation of the Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations (IOTA), WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the Tax Summit on Digital Economy, jointly organized by the Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT), IOTA and the Portuguese Tax and Customs Administration.  The event was held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 25 October 2018 and brought together Tax administrations from around 80 countries.

Secretary General Mikuriya moderated the round table session on “Tax and Customs Digital Administrations” with the following four panel members: Mr. Paulo Ricardo de Souza Cardoso, Deputy Commissioner General of Brazil Federal Revenue; Mr. Jorgen Wissing Jensen, Director at Personal Tax, Individuals, Danish Tax Agency; Mr. Pramod Chandra Gyandeo Modi, Member (Administration) of the Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes; and Ms. Ana Paula Rapaso, Deputy Director General for the Customs Procedures Department, Portuguese Tax and Customs Administration. 

After an extensive discussion on the challenges posed by the digital economy and the future of Customs and Tax administrations, Dr. Mikuriya summed up that both Customs and Tax Administrations should look at the digital economy that provides a wealth of data and disruptive technology, such as blockchain, as an opportunity for accessing information.  To that end, focus should be placed on digital platforms where information exchange is made possible between public institutions in order to analyse risks of revenue leakages and safety and security threats generated by illicit trade. 

Access to the requisite data will enable administrations to improve services, including e-tax services, and reduce clearance times.  The challenges lie in accessing quality data and trained human resources capable of understanding and managing data and data analytics at the highest levels as well as on the ground.  To tackle these challenges, heightened cooperation among Customs and Tax administrations is needed in the areas of information exchange and joint data analysis, capacity building and cultivating the trust of tax payers so as to enhance compliance in return for greater benefits.  The panellists mentioned some of the contributions made by the WCO, including those in the areas of Customs-Tax cooperation, Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programmes and cross-border e-commerce.

Dr. Mikuriya concluded by expressing his gratitude to the Portuguese Tax and Customs Administration, and in particular to Ms. Helena Alves Borges, Director General, for her support for Customs in a range of international fora.