Working Group on Revenue Compliance and Fraud meets for the first time

03 diciembre 2014

The newly established WCO Working Group on Revenue Compliance and Fraud held its 1st Meeting from 1 to 3 December with over 100 delegates in attendance. The Working Group replaces and succeeds the Working Group on Commercial Fraud established in 2005 and, as such, continues to address enforcement aspects of revenue (including commercial fraud, money laundering and smuggling of excisable goods) while also placing a strong focus on fraud prevention and compliance management (dealing with irregularities other than fraud, promoting voluntary compliance, establishing post-clearance audit (PCA) infrastructures, etc.) so as to adopt a more holistic approach to revenue collection and protection.

The Group noted the update provided by the Secretariat on work related to classification, origin, valuation and PCA and discussed the next steps for moving forward with the development of guidance material for Customs administrations in some of these domains. Case studies on origin fraud and under-invoicing, emphasizing strategies that have proven effective in identifying these types of fraud and the networks behind them, were also presented.

Highlights of the meeting included discussions on the concepts of revenue gaps and trade transparency and, more specifically, on existing tools and techniques for analysing discrepancies in Customs import and export data which may result in the detection of particular forms of commercial fraud. Delegates were introduced to or reminded of the use of mirror analysis techniques to identify possible irregularities, such as undervaluation and misclassification, as well as the approach and tool developed by the United States Government to identify trade anomalies indicative of trade-based money laundering.

Informal trade was another topic on the agenda and the meeting stressed the need for Members to enhance the exchange of practices and experience in this domain. Some Members took the floor to share initiatives taken at the national level, most of them underscoring the need to educate informal traders and offer them incentives to shift to formality.

Throughout the meeting, the necessity to enhance cooperation and information exchange to overcome barriers to combating transnational or commercial fraud was at the forefront of the discussions. This issue was the subject of a specific session during which participants discussed cooperation mechanisms between Tax and Customs authorities and related benefits for both parties.