Joint Audits – Ten Years of Experience: A Literature Review

Aiming to identify new opportunities for future research on joint audits (JAs), a literature review is conducted to reveal the major insights arising from the last ten years (e.g. the countries implementing JA, the number of ordinary and pilot project cases, costs and failures of JAs). In terms of the methodology applied, a total of 116 published works, spanning authors from 17 countries, were found. The analysis included: the year of publication; most-cited articles and authors; most-active journals and publishers; authorship and affiliation; type of study; and related topics addressing the JA. The findings provide evidence that there are an increasing number of JA studies, approximately 11 publications per year, but that this overall trend is mainly the result of an increase in studies published in Germany. The data suggests that the number of publications addressing JA is decreasing in other countries. The data demonstrates a strong correlation between the number of JA cases and the number of publications. Ninety-five per cent of German studies are published in German, which makes it difficult to capture the experience and knowledge worldwide. None of the research papers found address the topic of JAs on an empirical basis. Most publications have focused on an examination of the legal framework, JA pilot projects analysis, real cases discussion and research on the obstacles to an efficient JA procedure. Various authors have presented their own approach to defining, providing a final result and the legal bases of the JA, which are sometimes similar to the OECD proposal to audit cross-border activities jointly, and sometimes different. Representatives of the tax administration are responsible for publishing half of all publications. The Bavarian Ministry of Finance seems to be the world’s leading testing ground on JAs to date.