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OECD Tax Administrators To Meet In South Africa

by Robert Lee,, London

08 January 2008

South Africa will later this week host the fourth meeting of the Forum of Tax Administrators (FTA), a forum of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which seeks to provide strategic direction and leadership support for revenue and customs administration across the world.

FTA meetings take place approximately every 18 months, and represent the most significant assembly of heads of revenue and customs from over 100 countries. Among those attending will be heads of the UK, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Chile, France, Singapore and US tax authorities.

The meeting will be opened on Thursday by South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, with the opening plenary session addressed by South African Revenue Service Commissioner, Pravin Gordhan and OECD Deputy Secretary General, Pier Carlo Padoan.

The upcoming FTA meeting, to be held in Cape Town on the 10th and 11th of January, will focus on improving compliance through risk management and enhanced relationships between tax administrations. At the last FTA meeting in Seoul, it was agreed that tax administrations needed to adapt to the changing global environment of transnational business operations and international markets, aided by new information technology. New discussions will explore ways of collaborating to address new avenues of tax evasion that pose a threat to government social security and country development programmes.

It is the first time that the FTA has been held on African soil, and there will be a special session devoted to governance and capacity building for tax administrations in Africa, with the idea of creating a North-South partnership to assist countries in the improvement of revenue collection, a key feature of economic self-reliance.

The forum will also hear views from the private sector, with a number of key international corporate leaders to present their views on global trends in business and wealth management. These panelists will include Anita Fung of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation; Chris Lucas, Global CFO of Barclays, Gill Marcus, Chair of ABSA; Phuthuma Nhleko, CEO of MTN SA; Saroj Poddar of Gillete India and Mike Rake of British Telecom.

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