Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool TADAT—Reflections Event

July 6, 2018

  • Nearly three years ago, I had the great honor of participating in the public launch of TADAT. So, it is a special pleasure for me to open this event today, which will discuss what TADAT has achieved so far and how we can build on what I believe has been a considerable success.

  • You will hear today from many stakeholders on the TADAT experience and prospects. I am particularly delighted to hear the experiences of countries who have received TADAT assessments, including, for some unable to join us today, by video—as you have just seen. Furthermore, the experiences of colleagues from Canada and Norway reminds us that TADAT is a tool for countries at all levels of development.

  • Now, I would like to share a few thoughts on the importance of TADAT.

  • Strong economic institutions that have trained officials to formulate and implement effective policies are critical to a country’s long-term development. For over 50 years, the IMF has worked with its member countries to strengthen these institutions. We call this ‘capacity development’. And we at the IMF continually respond to the capacity development needs of our members as they work towards strengthening these institutions.

  • TADAT is a prime example of how we and our partners respond in an innovative way. Under the Addis Tax Initiative, there has been renewed commitment to strengthening revenue mobilization—this is central to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The IMF has long been active in strengthening revenue systems, and remains strongly committed to this agenda. We currently work on these issues with more than 100 countries each year. Support from our partners has allowed us to substantially increase our work in this area over the last few years.

  • TADAT itself has played an important role over the last three years. There have been TADAT assessments in a remarkable 62 countries. The Fund has lead about half of these assessments. But I am pleased to know that, as intended, TADAT has proven to be a tool that can be used by anyone who meets the demanding standards required to be an assessor. But TADAT is not just a matter of one-assessment. The assessment is a start. TADAT provides a common basis for all stakeholders to collaborate on reform and bring about real and lasting improvements in tax administration. We are still in the early days, but our sense is that many tax administration reform programs are indeed being refined or developed on the basis of TADAT assessment results. We have been very encouraged by the positive mid-term independent evaluation of TADAT.

  • Today we will learn more about TADAT in action from those who have experienced it first-hand. Three themes stand out.

  • First, as you know, we are now finalizing the first revision of the TADAT field guide. A central concern for all of us is keeping the framework up-to-date in the rapidly changing world of tax administration. At the same time, we need to avoid overburdening those who deliver and who receive the assessment. So, change must be selective.

  • You will hear today of the changes planned. One key change is extending the framework at a subnational level. Four pilots have been conducted, including in the states of Alagoas and Rio de Janeiro in my own country, Brazil. These pilots have shown very strong linkages in taxpayer compliance management between the national and subnational tax administrations—linkages that in many cases appear under-exploited.

  • Second, is the importance of training. Over 2,000 officials have now been trained in TADAT. Training supports reform efforts in two key ways: it empowers and raises the confidence of tax administration officials; and it increases the motivation and buy-in for reforms.

  • TADAT training has effectively created a large network of tax officials with common experiences and background. I welcome efforts to build on this network to develop a tax administration community where country officials and tax administration experts worldwide can collaborate virtually and share experiences.

  • Third, TADAT is now becoming a significant and unique source of detailed information on revenue administration outcomes. I encourage you to make use of it. I hope and expect that these data will spur analytical work to further develop our understanding of the complexities of reforming revenue administrations.

  • TADAT has proven to be a rich and valuable resource. Next year it will begin its second phase. I hope that our current capacity development partners who have so ably supported the program’s first phase will continue their support to this great effort. I also welcome new partners to join TADAT and play a role in the program’s future success.

  • In closing, I would like to thank the many who have nurtured TADAT. Thanks to your efforts, TADAT was described as “fit for purpose” at its recent mid-term review.

  • Let me thank the TADAT sponsoring partners. These are the European Union, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the World Bank, and the IMF;

  • I also thank the members of the TADAT Technical Advisory Group for their continued guidance;

  • I would especially like to thank the TADAT Secretariat and my staff in departments all across the IMF who have helped innovate and organize the successful events and training courses.

  • Most important of all, I extend my gratitude to all the countries, institutions and participants that have come here today. We are looking forward to hearing your stories.

  • With that, I wish you fruitful and interesting discussions today!

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