Jun 1, 2022

Trust Is a Two-Way Street Also in Taxation

Senior tax administration officials from South East Europe (SEE) gathered at the CEF on May 31- June 1, 2022, to discuss why building a culture of trust makes a meaningful difference in every modern tax administration. They looked into what strategies their administrations can adopt to build and nurture internal and external trust as a key tool for tax compliance when interacting with taxpayers.

During the event, Sander de Bock from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration and Ivan Simič, Director General at the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, shared organizational practices that have helped them establish a culture of trust in their work environments. They also revealed what measures both administrations have undertaken to strengthen the taxpayers' trust. Both speakers also highlighted that the trust-based approach starts with the tax administration’s employees whereby it is essential that the tax administration’s internal culture supports the development of a trusting relationship between the tax administration and taxpayers. 

“In the Netherlands, we trust taxpayers to do the right thing. Our Tax and Customs Administration aims to influence the behavior of citizens and businesses in such a way that they structurally comply with tax rules and regulations. To do so, we need fair and straightforward legislation and procedures. But it also means that we have to be a trustworthy governmental body. It is in our strategy to create an environment which reduces opportunities for non-compliant behavior and makes it easy to comply.” explained Mr. de Bock.

During the event also CEF director Jana Repanšek presented the model of a learning organization that can be beneficial for tax administration to develop trusted relationships both internally and externally and successfully deal with challenges characterized by growing areas of uncertainty and the general public mistrust in the tax authorities. “In our work, we do not only focus on technical topics. We put equal attention to non-technical topics, like leadership knowledge and skills. We are interested in how individuals work in teams, how they share knowledge with others, how they communicate messages, negotiate, get inspired to do meaningful things, and how they build confidence and trust with others. This is of critical importance for tax experts.” said Ms. Repanšek.

The event was delivered as part of our tax policy and administration learning program which supports tax officials in strengthening capacities for increasing the efficiency and fairness of tax administrations.