Officials from revenue bodies, the banking sector and OECD met in Rome on 10-11 October to discuss ways to enhance the relationship between tax administrations and the banking industry and thus improve tax compliance.
Participants to the seminar “Developing the enhanced relationship in the banking sector” agreed on the need to strengthen co-operation among revenue bodies and the banking sector. Their discussions were based upon the experience of countries which have already implemented a new co-operative approach. The seminar addressed the role of banks in the current economic environment, the impact of recent regulatory changes on tax matters, and the experience of various stakeholders with co-operative compliance programmes. It also addressed issues such as those related to bank losses and how to determine the appropriate tax treatment of branches of foreign banks
The Italian tax authorities and the national banking association announced that they will soon develop a code of tax practice for Italian banks, along the lines of that recently endorsed by the OECD Forum on Tax Administration.
The seminar was opened by Attilio Befera, General Commissioner of the Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle entrate) highlighting that “it is important for tax authorities to adopt a balanced approach: zero tolerance for aggressive tax planning, but at the same time impartiality and fairness in evaluating legitimate tax planning. More in general, an approach aimed at giving certainty to taxpayers”
Noting the importance of sharing ideas and experience, Jeffrey Owens, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, said, “ Co-operative compliance initiatives benefit both governments and taxpayers through fewer routine audits, increased transparency, a positive impact on compliance culture in general and of course more revenue: a win-win situation”.
Giovanni Sabatini, Director General of the Italian Banking Association (ABI), stressed the importance of introducing a Code of Conduct in Italy and underlined the willingness of ABI to work with the Italian Revenue Agency. "A code of conduct" he said "will help to achieve a right balance between the need to reduce the incentives towards aggressive tax planning and promote certainty and predictability for taxpayers".