Observatory on the Protection of Taxpayers’ Rights
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.
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.
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.
|Argentina||Alberto Tarsitano||Director||Estudio Tarsitano
Gimenez, Lifrieri & Pampliega
|Australia||Duy Dam||Director Tax Complaints and Review||Office of Inspector-General of Taxation & Taxation Ombudsman|
|John Bevacqua||Professor||University of Latrobe|
|Austria||Christina Schwarzenbacher||Senior Tax Assistant||Deloitte|
|Alfred Faller||Steuerombudsmann||Austrian Ministry of Finance|
|Barbara Gunacker-Slawitsch||Professor||University of Graz|
|Belgium||Véronique de Brabanter||Attorney||PwC / Law Square|
|Liesbeth Vermeire||Attorney||PwC / Law Square|
|Gilles van Hulle||Attorney||PwC / Law Square|
|Luk Cassimon||Attorney||PwC / Law Square|
|Anne Van de Vijver||Professor of tax law||University of Antwerpen|
|Jef Van Eyndhoven||Attorney||HCGB Advocaten|
|Brasil||Dalton Luiz Dallazem||Partner||Perin & Dallazem|
|Paulo Ayres Barreto||Partner||Aires Barreto Advogados Associados|
|Bulgaria||Dimitar Benev||Associate||Dimitrov, Petrov & Co|
|Boyana Milcheva||Partner||Dimitrov, Petrov & Co|
|Canada||Salvatore Mirandola||Partner||McCarthy Tétrault LLP|
|Sherra Profit||Taxpayers’ Ombudsman||Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman|
|Nathalie Therrien||Directrice Générale||Bureau de la protection des droits de la clientèle|
|Chile||Yuri Varela Barraza||Partner||Varelacia Asesoria Legal Tributaria|
|China||Zhiyong Zhang||Retired Tax Authority||State Administration of Taxation|
|Zhengwen Shi||Director||Center for Fiscal and Tax Law Studies of CUPL|
|Colombia||Leonardo Andres Bautista Raba||Taxpayers’ Ombudsman||Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales|
|Natalia Quinones Cruz||Chief of Office for International Affairs||Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales|
|Yvonne Carolina Florez||Attorney||Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales|
|Cyprus||Venetia Argyropoulou||Partner||Pelaghias Christodoulou Vrachas|
|Yannis Tsangaris||Director||Cypriot Tax Administration|
|Czech Republic||Hana Skalická||Partner||Hana Skalická Law Office|
|Denmark||Henrik Peytz||Partner||Nielsen Nørager Law Firm LLP|
|Henrik Klitz||Advisor||Danish Tax Appeals Agency|
|Finland||Eero Männistö||Doctoral Candidate||University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law|
|Kristiina Äimä||Doctor of Laws||University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law|
|Eva Oertel||Doctor||Federal Ministry of Finance|
|Daniel Dürrschmidt||Post Doc-Researcher||University of Munich|
|Greece||Lydia Sofrona||Director of Legal Services||Greek Tax Administration|
|Katerina Perrou||Doctor||University of Athens Law School|
|Guatemala||Alfredo Rodriguez||Associate||Consortium Legal|
|Alejandra Fuentes Pieruccini||Associate||Consortium Legal|
|Juan Carlos Casellas Gálvez||Partner||Mayora & Mayora, S.C.|
|Erwin Romero||Chief Judge||Guatemala Dispute Tribunal (Room 4)|
|India||Dikshit Sengupta||Professor||National Institute of Public Finance and Policy|
|Ireland||Tatiana V. Kelly||Tax Consultant||Grant Thornton|
|Italy||Pietro Mastellone||Tax Associate||Studio Legale Tributario Cordeiro Guerra & Associati|
|Isabella Cugusi||Tax Lawyer||Isabella Cugusi Studio Legale|
|Giovanna Tieghi||Professor||University of Padua|
|Kenya||Makhanu Daniel Aburili||Associate Advocate||Raffman Dhanji Elms & Virdee Advocates|
|Brian Njenga Kagunyi||Tax Associate||Iseme, Kamau and Maema Advocates (DLA Piper)|
|Josephine M. Muchiri||Advisor||International Tax Office|
|Luxembourg||Katerina Pantazatou||Associate Professor||University of Luxembourg|
|Mauritius||Ahmad Khalid Phul||LL.M||University of Cape Town|
|Mexico||Fernando Juarez Hernandez||Attorney||Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton|
|Carlos Espinosa Berecochea||Director General||Centro Est. Sup. de Derecho Fiscal y Admin.|
|Cesar Alejandro Ruiz||Partner||Aguirre Anguiano y Asociados|
|Diana Bernal Ladron de Guevara||Former Ombudsman||Prodecon|
|Luis Rodrigo Salinas Olvera||Attorney||Prodecon|
|Panama||Camilo A. Valdés M.||Attorney||Anzola Robles & Asociados|
|Peru||Julio A. Fernández Cartagena||Professor||San Marcos University|
|Cecilia Delgado Ratto||Attorney||Afisca Consultores|
|Esteban Montenegro||LL.M||University of Amsterdam|
|Poland||Dominik Mączyński||Chair of Financial Law||Adam Mickiewicz University|
|Portugal||Rui Camacho Palma||Head of Tax Practice||Linklaters Lisbon|
|Russia||Natalia Soloveva||Associate Professor||Voronezh State University|
|Serbia||Svetislav Kostic||Professor||University of Belgrade|
|Lidija Živković||Professor||University of Belgrade|
|Slovenia||Aleksander Pevec||Attorney||Odvetnik Aleksander Pevec|
|Mateja Vraničar Erman||Fiscal Counsellor||Ministry of Finance|
|Maruša Pozvek||Professor||University of Maribor|
|South Africa||Byron Thomas||MSc candidate||University of Oxford|
|Eric Mkhawane||Chief Executive Officer||Office of the Tax Ombud|
|Jennifer Roeleveld||Professor||University of Cape Town|
|South Korea||Hyejung Byun||Associate Professor||University of Seoul|
|Spain||Javier Martín Fernández||Former Chair||Spanish Taxpayers' Ombudsman|
|Felipe Alonso Murillo||Attorney||Spanish Supreme Court|
|Yolanda Martínez / Elizabeth Gil||Doctors of Laws||Universidad de Alicante|
|Sweden||Lynda Ondrasek Olofsson||Senior Legal Adviser||Confederation of Swedish Enterprise|
|Eleonor Kristoffersson||Professor||Örebro University|
|Switzerland||Michael Beusch||Attorney||Schweizerische Bundeskanzlei|
|Taiwan||Stefan Huang Shih Chou||Professor||National Taipei University of Business|
|The Netherlands||Arjo van Eijsden||Partner||Ernst & Young Belastingadviseurs LLP|
|Turkey||Billur Yalti||Professor||University of Istanbul|
|United Kingdom||Ian Young||Technical Manager||ICAEW|
|United States||Rostyslav I. Shiller||Attorney Advisor||Internal Revenue Service|
|Amanda K. Bartmann||Attorney Advisor||Internal Revenue Service|
|Venezuela||Alberto Benshimol||Partner||D'Empaire Reyna|
|Ronald Evans||Partner||Baker & McKenzie|
|Melissa Elechiguerra||Teaching Fellow||Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London|
|EU Unit||Natalia Vorobyeva||Judiciary||European Court of Human Rights|
|Katerina Perrou||Doctor||University of Athens Law School|
|Inter-American Court||Guzmán Ramírez Arrieta||Professor of Tax Law||ORT University of Uruguay|