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Observatory on the Protection of Taxpayers’ Rights

To operate as a neutral, non-judgemental platform for monitoring developments concerning the effective protection of taxpayers’ fundamental rights in the world.
 
Summary
There is now a clear and undeniable relationship between human rights and taxation with human rights directly influencing different facets of the tax relationship, both materially and formally. Human rights materially influence the concept of “fair” taxation to balance the effective enjoyment of the fundamental rights of the people, in conditions of freedom and dignity (such as education, health, work, etc.) against the adequate financing of State activity aimed at the procurement of essential public services. Human rights facilitate the formal recognition of a taxpayer’s position vis-à-vis tax claims and, therefore, their right to participation and defense in administrative and judicial proceedings related to the assessment of the tax liability. Human rights further assist to define the relationships between the tax administration and individuals.

 

Globalization and the growing internationalization of tax law have added further complexity to the analysis. The balance between the prevention of international multiple taxation (the result of cross-border transactions in an environment of growing globalization) and the fight (of States) against international tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax fraud (particularly evident during the BEPS Project) has resulted in the development of a tangled network of “hard” and “soft” law regulations. Human rights considerations unquestionably play a critical role in ensuring freedom and dignity with respect to the interpretation and application of such regulations.

The current political climate and response to calls for “tax fairness” has led to the growth of the investigative powers of tax administrations, aimed at tackling both tax avoidance and evasion, as well as the so-called “aggressive tax planning”. Such increased powers must be balanced with the provision of timely and effective protection to taxpayer’s rights. From the current research (see below) it is possible to establish the current principles, minimum standards and best practices that ensure the enjoyment of those taxpayer rights (within the scope of human rights).  It is equally important, in light of the growing powers of tax administrations, to continuously update and aid in the further development and application of such principles, standards and practices.

Contents
The Observatory on the Protection of Taxpayers’ Rights (OPTR) will identify principles, minimum standards and best practices for the effective protection of taxpayers’ rights in the ambit of tax relationships. It will also allow the permanent monitoring of global compliance with such minimum standards, as well as their amendment and development in the different regions of the world (defining whether such may qualify as either a universal or regional standard).

This monitoring function will assist the OPTR to identify areas of sensitivity and potential challenges to the human rights deriving from amendments to law or administrative and judicial practices. It may further raise public awareness about human rights in the field of taxation.

The OPTR work is relevant for governments, taxpayers and different international organizations on human rights. It demonstrates the link between human rights and taxation and raises awareness as to the potential impact of an excessive tax burden or the execution of administrative or judicial processes where these rights are limited or ignored.              

Other observatories and international organizations, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the Ombudsman of the European Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Asian Human Rights Commission, and the Organization of American States, among others, may be interested in the work of the Observatory, as a forum that provides information in a neutral and impartial way and satisfies high technical standards. Similarly, the International Courts on Human Rights, such as the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, may consider the information developed by the OPTR useful.

Benefits
The OPTR will facilitate:

  • The creation of a database on the minimum standards for the protection of taxpayers’ rights, the status of the legal framework and the case law on the matter.
  • The organization of seminars and conferences to discuss human rights in the context of tax-related issues and contributing proposals.
  • The development of documents to contribute to the knowledge, expansion and awareness of the connection between human rights and taxation.
  • Assistance to government authorities on human rights/taxation matters, training and providing tools to their personnel for the implementation of best practices and the domestic monitoring of the minimum standards for the protection of taxpayers’ rights, as an instrument for the achievement of an efficient public administration.
  • Providing information to the public regarding how taxation may adversely affect the guarantee of human rights and how a balance can be achieved.
  • Raising awareness on the clear linkage between human rights and taxation.
Editors & National Reporters
Directors
 
Managing Editor
 
Project Coordinator

National Reporters
 

National Report of Argentina

Alberto Tarsitano 
Director
Estudio Tarsitano
Gimenez, Lifrieri & Pampliega

National Report of Australia

Duy Dam
Director Tax Complaints and Review
Office of Inspector-General of Taxation & Taxation Ombudsman

John Bevacqua
Professor
Monash University

National Report of Austria

Christina Schwarzenbacher
Senior Tax Assistant
Deloitte

Alfred Faller
Steuerombudsmann
Austrian Ministry of Finance

Barbara Gunacker-Slawitsch 
Professor
University of Graz

National Report of Belgium

Véronique de Brabanter
Attorney
PwC / Law Square 

Liesbeth Vermeire
Attorney
PwC / Law Square 

Luk Cassimon
Attorney
PwC / Law Square

Sylvie De Raedt 
Professor of tax law
University of Antwerpen

Jef Van Eyndhoven
Attorney
HCGB Advocaten

National Report of Canada

Salvatore Mirandola
Partner
McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Sherra Profit
Taxpayers’ Ombudsman 
Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman

National Report of Chile 

Yuri Varela
Partner
Portatax

National Report of China

Zhiyong Zhang
Retired Tax Authority
State Administration of Taxation

Zhengwen Shi 
Director
Center for Fiscal and Tax Law Studies of CUPL

National Report of Colombia

Leonardo Andres Bautista Raba
Taxpayers’ Ombudsman 
Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales

Natalia Quinones Cruz
Partner
Quiñones, Cruz y Asociados

Yvonne Carolina Florez
Attorney
Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales

National Report of Croatia

Nataša Zunic-Kovačevid
Professor
University of Rijeka

National Report of Cyprus

Venetia Argyropoulou
Partner
Pelaghias Christodoulou Vrachas

Yannis Tsangaris
Director
Cypriot Tax Administration

National Report of Finland

Eero Männistö
Doctoral Candidate
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law

Kristiina Äimä
Doctor of Laws
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law

National Report of Germany

Martin Bartelt
Doctor
WTS

Eva Oertel
Doctor
Federal Ministry of Finance

Daniel Dürrschmidt 
Doctor
University of Munich

National Report of Greece

Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos
Judge
Supreme Administrative Court

Katerina Perrou
Doctor
University of Athens Law School

National Report of Guatemala

Alfredo Rodriguez
Associate
Consortium Legal

Alejandra Fuentes Pieruccini 
Associate
Consortium Legal

National Report of India

Kuntal Dave
Associate
Nanubhai Desai & Co

National Report of Italy

Pietro Mastellone 
Tax Associate
Studio Legale Tributario Cordeiro Guerra & Associati

Isabella Cugusi 
Tax Lawyer
Isabella Cugusi Studio Legale

Giovanna Tieghi
Professor
University of Padu

National Report of Japan

Masato Ohno
Professor
Meiji University

National Report of Kenya

Josephine M. Muchiri
Advisor
International Tax Office

National Report of Luxembourg

Fatima Chaouche
Referendary
Luxembourg Administrative Court

National Report of Mauritius

Ahmad Khalid Phul
Advisor
Exigent Group 

National Report of Mexico

Carlos Espinosa Berecochea
Director General
Centro Est. Sup. de Derecho Fiscal y Admin.

Diana Bernal Ladron de Guevara
Counsel
Fernandez Espino y Asociados

Luis Rodrigo Salinas Olvera
Tax Counsel
Creel, García-Cuellar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C.

Fernando Juarez Hernandez
Partner
Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton

National Report of Peru

Julio A. Fernández Cartagena
Professor
San Marcos University

Cecilia Delgado Ratto
Partner 
Afisca Consultores

Esteban Montenegro 
Partner
Estudio Montenegro

National Report of Portugal

Rui Camacho Palma 
Head of Tax Practice
Linklaters Lisbon

National Report of Russia

Natalia Soloveva
Chairperson of the BoD 
Olimp Zdorovia Group

Karina Ponomareva
Associate Professor
Omsk State University

National Report of Serbia

Svetislav Kostic
Professor
University of Belgrade

Lidija Živković
Professor
University of Belgrade

National Report of Slovenia

Aleksander Pevec 
Attorney
Odvetnik Aleksander Pevec

Boštjan M. Zupančič
Former Judge
European Court of Human Rights

Maruša Pozvek
Professor
University of Maribor

National Report of South Africa

Kevin Burt
Advocate
Johannesburg Bar

Jennifer Roeleveld 
Professor
University of Cape Town

Gert van Heerden
Acting Chief Executive Office
Office of the Tax Ombud

National Report of Spain

Javier Martín Fernández
Former Chair
Spanish Taxpayers' Ombudsman

Jesús Rodríguez Márquez
Member
Spanish Taxpayers' Ombudsman

Felipe Alonso Murillo
Former Attorney
Spanish Supreme Court

Manuel J. Lucas Durán
Attorney
Spanish Supreme Court

Yolanda Martínez / Elizabeth Gil
Doctors of Laws
Universidad de Alicante

National Report of Sweden

Lynda Ondrasek Olofsson 
Senior Legal Adviser
Confederation of Swedish Enterprise

Eleonor Kristoffersson 
Professor
Örebro University

National Report of Switzerland

Peter Hongler
Professor
University of Zurich 

National Report of Taiwan

Stefan Huang Shih Chou
Professor
National Taipei University of Business

National Report of The Netherlands

Arjo van Eijsden
Partner
Ernst & Young Belastingadviseurs LLP

National Report of United Kingdom

Ian Young
Technical Manager
ICAEW

National Report of United States

Christine Speidel
Director
Federal Tax Clinic, Villanova University

National Report of Uruguay

Guzman Ramirez Arrieta
Senior Associate
Bergstein Abogados

Addy Maaz
Professor
Universidad de la República de Montevideo

National Report of Venezuela

Ronald Evans
Partner
Baker & McKenzie

Marie Roschelle Quintero Sabino
Partner
Baker & McKenzie

Melissa Elechiguerra
Teaching Fellow at the King's College London.

 
                   
Inter-American Court

Guzmán Ramírez Arrieta 
Senior Associate
Bergstein Abogados

European Court of Human Rights 2019

Katerina Perrou
Doctor
University of Athens Law School

Natalia Vorobyeva
Former Lawyer 
European Court of Human Rights

EU Unit     

Katerina Perrou
Doctor
University of Athens Law School

View the General and National Reports

 

Please contact us for any queries, comments or suggestions at optr@ibfd.org.