University of Minnesota Law School; Walter F. Mondale Hall | Auerbach Commons; 229 19th Avenue South; Minneapolis, MN 5455; Sponsored by Caplin & Drysdale • Washington, DC, United States
As more tax agencies and countries adopt taxpayer charters of rights and taxpayer bills of rights, the question of what is their significance and legal effect arises. This panel will include a survey of existing taxpayer rights charters and taxpayer bills of rights, examine their constitutional basis and their derivation from customary law and human rights conventions, and explore the value of international charters and their interplay with international law principles.
In administering the tax laws, taxing authorities communicate their views regarding tax law requirements in a variety of ways. What is the availability of administrative guidance (including the limits of legislative interpretation and interpretive guidance), its role in fostering compliance, and administrative or statutory vehicles for obtaining access to that guidance, as well as the methods to bring stakeholders into a constructive discussion with authorities and legislative bodies? What is the ability of taxpayers to legitimately rely on published administrative guidance in its various forms, how is such reliance treated by tax authorities, the judiciary, and legislative bodies, and what remedies exist for taxpayers when they relied on such guidance, to their detriment? As international organizations increasingly play a role in tax administration, how should taxpayers perceive communications from such agencies regarding tax law requirements?
The advent of intergovernmental data exchange agreements and information sharing between tax agencies creates a conflict between taxpayers’ legitimate expectation of privacy and the government’s need to collect the taxes that are due under its laws. What is the scope of tax privacy in the 21st century, how have governments acted to protect taxpayer information, and what remedies exist for violations of taxpayer data protections? This panel will review data protection efforts and remedies in Europe and the United States.
Tax agencies are increasingly using big data, data mining techniques, and artificial intelligence to identify taxpayers, transactions, and strategies that pose risks to tax compliance. This panel will explore the challenges to tax administrations that arise as a result of market innovations furthered by the digital revolution and the challenges to taxpayers that arise as a result of an increasingly automated and risk-assessment based agency approach to compliance.
Weisman Museum of Art; University of Minnesota Campus; 333 E. River Pkwy; Minneapolis, MN 55455
This panel will explore the role of whistleblowers in tax administration, including the whistleblower’s access to information about the taxpayer and progress on the investigation, and the taxpayer’s access to information about the whistleblower’s proffer. The panel will provide a comparative analysis of the law, including the proposed European Union directive, as well as issues raised by whistleblowers in non-tax areas of the law.
Throughout the world, the judiciary is the final arbiter and interpreter of the legality of government action. This international panel of judges will engage in a conversation about their respective roles in protecting taxpayer rights and ensuring transparency and consistency of government action, as well as increasing access to the courts, especially in countries where taxpayers are either afraid of seeking assistance or relief or are reluctant to bring a case against tax authorities because of cultural reasons.
Big Data, artificial intelligence, and other information technologies are often discussed in the context of detecting noncompliance, and these techniques may be helpful in promoting compliance or protecting compliant taxpayers from a tax agency’s erroneous assumptions. On the other hand, the trend of delivering key taxpayer assistance digitally and tax agencies’ move away from person-to-person assistance for budgetary reasons has ramifications for vulnerable taxpayer groups and tax compliance in general. This panel will explore the use of technology and the efficacy of different modes of communicating with taxpayers in order to promote tax compliance.
This panel will identify key issues that were raised during the conference and suggest avenues for further exploration and potential best practices for tax agencies, legislative bodies, and the judiciary to protect taxpayers’ rights in the digital and information age.