The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Monday launched an Asia Pacific Tax Hub to create an open and inclusive platform to promote strategic policy dialogue, improve knowledge sharing, and strengthen coordination on tax policy and administration among ADB, its members, and development partners.
The hub will maximise regional and international resources to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation (DRM) and international tax cooperation (ITC) in ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs).
“Domestic resource mobilisation has emerged as a major strategic priority for our DMCs at this moment. It will be vital in the effort to address debt sustainability and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a seminar at ADB’s 54th Annual Meeting.
“The lack of a pan-regional tax community has been a unique and significant shortcoming for Asia and the Pacific. To address this, I would like to announce today (Monday) the official launch of the Asia Pacific Tax Hub”, he added.
The hub will support DMCs on three main building blocks: preparation of medium-term revenue strategies (MTRS); roadmaps for the automation of tax administration, and proactive participation in international tax initiatives, said an ADB press release.
The hub aims to play a key role in these agendas by stimulating regional dialogue and knowledge sharing on needed reforms.
Through the hub, ADB will: coordinate closely with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support DMCs as they formulate country-specific MTRS, with activities such as regional workshops in collaboration with the Platform for Collaboration on Tax and diagnostic tools like the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool.
It will also conduct needs assessments to prepare roadmaps for the automation of tax administrations in DMCs, and support their implementation in collaboration with development partners and leading countries in this area; facilitation of policy dialogue with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and stimulation of proactive participation of DMCs in the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
Besides, it will apply its financial instruments, such as policy-based and project lending, and technical assistance to promote DRM, adoption of international tax standards, and strengthened technology investment by revenue agencies.
ADB is establishing a secretariat to operationalise the hub and plans to organise a Steering Committee to bring together key development partners and DMCs willing to actively engage in the hub. It will work closely together with the hub secretariat to lead the operation of the hub.
The hub will organise a first High-Level Conference by the fourth quarter of 2021 to report on progress and discuss the next steps on the three building blocks of the hub, including details of the operations of the hub Secretariat and Steering Committee.
Asakawa was joined in the seminar by Japan Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services Taro Aso; IMF Assistant Director of Fiscal Affairs Department Katherine Baer; World Bank Group Acting Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions and Director of Prospects Group Ayhan Kose; and OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration Director Pascal Saint-Amans. Singapore Deputy Commissioner of Inland Revenue Authority Huey Min Chia-Tern moderated the panel.
The panel also included representatives from tax authorities from Australia, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand, and the Department of Finance of the Philippines.