Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was launched virtually in Seychelles on 4th October 2021. This one-year programme, implemented through the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC), is also supported by the Government of India.
The TIWB programme has been implemented in 50 developing countries with the aim to support their tax audit capacity and jurisdictions through targeted tax audit assistance programmes. The initiative makes use of a pool of qualified tax experts who are deployed to jurisdictions where technical know-how, skills, best practices and experiences can be shared and transferred to the local tax auditors. Seychelles’ TIWB programme will be oriented towards building the capacity of the SRC in handling transfer pricing cases in the tourism and financial services sectors.
Speaking at the launch, the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Mr. Patrick Payet, assured that Seychelles will “make maximum use of the programme”. According to him, “Seychelles recognizes the need to carry out better quality audits. Our lack of experience and skills in complex international audits often acts as a barrier and allows for cross border tax avoidance.” SS Payet also commended TIWB for adopting such an approach whereby “countries with limited resources, such as Seychelles, would really benefit from the transfer of such knowledge from qualified and experienced tax experts.”
Both governments of Seychelles and India are taking part in multilateral negotiations for a digital tax, led by the OECD. At the event, Mr. Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division at the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, stated: “We're delighted that Seychelles and India are fully engaged in international tax cooperation discussions. TIWB provides practical support and is a great asset to international tax co-operation".
During the event, Dr. Tony Muhumuza, Senior Economist at UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles, on behalf of the UNDP Resident Representative, reaffirmed that the Country Office stands ready to provide any necessary support on the ground to enable the tax administrators to benefit effectively from the TIWB Technical Assistance: “ We have facilitated several South-South cooperation arrangements of this kind and are confident that the engagement we are launching today will be an integral part of the Domestic Resource Mobilisation efforts of Seychelles. UNDP is therefore committed to helping Seychelles access new financing opportunities and transition to a more resilient and sustainable economy in the post-COVID world.”
The event also had the participation of Mrs Veronique Herminie, Commissioner General of the Seychelles Revenue Commission; Mr J. B. Mohapatra, Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, India; Mrs Rusudan Kemularia, Head of the TIWB Secretariat; and key officials from India, the TIWB Secretariat, Staff of the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Multi-Country Office and the UNDP SDG Finance Hub, OECD, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Trade (MFEPT), and the SRC.