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  • OECD conference

    The ATO co-hosted the 5th Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on value added tax (VAT) and GST in Melbourne in March 2019. Approximately 300 people from over 100 delegations attended, representing tax officials from government, international organisations and business alike.

    The meeting focused on challenges faced by tax authorities in the era of digitalisation and globalisation. Discussions were based on two main themes: challenges and opportunities of digitalisation, and how to effectively tackle fraud and avoidance. From an Australian perspective, our senior leaders were proud to showcase our 20 years of experience in implementing and administering GST, and the world’s first low value imported goods measure.

    Digitalisation has brought benefits and challenges across all tax jurisdictions. Working collaboratively at a global level allows us to face common challenges together, and identify mutually beneficial solutions to harness the benefits. Here are some key outcomes of the forum:

    • Endorsed the OECD’s The Role of Digital Platforms in the Collection of VAT/GST on Online Sales report. The report includes new measures (that Australia has already implemented) to make e-commerce marketplaces liable for the VAT/GST on sales made by online traders through their platforms. Australia made a considerable contribution to the development of this paper.
    • Recognised the importance of the international standards developed by the OECD to assist tax authorities in addressing fraud and non-compliance associated with digitalisation and globalisation.
    • An OECD proposal to work with developing economies and other regional and international organisations on the creation of practical guidance (or ‘toolkits’) to support the proper collection of VAT/GST in the rapidly growing e-commerce market.
    • Greater alignment between Working Party 9 (on Consumption Taxes) and Working Party 10 in relation to exchanges of information to support some of the initiatives outlined above.

    As lead for this event, the ATO worked closely with internal stakeholders, the OECD and other Australian Government departments (including Treasury, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) to deliver a successful event. A team of 22 ATO staff (across business lines) volunteered to support the event and assist international delegates throughout the duration. Feedback from delegates and the OECD has been extremely positive.

      Last modified: 01 Jul 2020QC 61031