BRICS tax officials put heads together to curb evasion, illicit financial flows

Information exchange, aimed at curbing illicit financial flows and tax evasion, dominated the BRICS Tax and Customs meeting which concluded in Johannesburg on Thursday. 

The meeting, by heads of revenue collection from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, took place before the BRICS Summit, which will be held in Johannesburg later next month.

According to SARS Acting Commissioner, Mark Kingon, the BRICS tax authorities had agreed to forge beneficial cooperation to improve tax bases in their respective countries and improve collection compliance in the era of digital economy.

He said dealing with the scourge of illicit currency flows and tax avoidance was one of the common challenges faced by member countries.

The measures supported by the group to improve capacity included support for international initiatives aimed at creating a globally fair and universally transparent tax system.

"We reaffirm our commitment to keep exchanging valuable experience, sharing best practices and, where appropriate, conducting joint research and training, as well as the exchange of staff to promote learning," said Kingon.

READ: BRICS Institute spots gap in the market to foster economic ties

This year South Africa assumed the position of heading the BRICS custom and tax unit.

Kingon said the member states had committed to identifying loopholes in tax compliance and adopting best practices from other member states.

Cooperation would include the design of new tax policies, tax administration strategies and practices, as well as privacy and cyber security concerns and new avenues for fraud, which they say require international cooperation and coordination, as information flows increase. 

China’s Deputy Commissioner of the State Administration of Taxation, Sun Ruibiao, said his country had adopted a simplified tax collection system that is digitally based, in a bid to improve compliance and boost collection.

"These initiatives have shown results, and I can say we have noticed an improvement in tax collection," he said.

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