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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
 
Scientific Coordinators
 
Project Coordinator

National Reporters
 
Country  Name Function/Company Institution
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
       
Germany Martin Bartelt Partner WTS
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
  Edson Uribe  Ombudsman 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

 

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