On October 20th, ICTD Research Fellow Dr Martin Hearson presented at the 6th annual World Bank Group and IMF “Tax Sunday” in Washington D.C.. On the theme “Strengthening Tax Systems in a Digitalizing World,” the conference focused on international tax reform and digitalisation in developing economies, as well as the role of innovative technology in helping tax administrations enforce cross-border compliance and collect revenue.

The conference was attended by a total of 172 participants, including policy makers and tax administrators, civil society and business representatives, academics, and World Bank and IMF staff.

Martin opened the first session on “International Tax Reform, Digitalisation and Developing Economies,” presenting some of the structural issues developing countries face when participating in negotiations such as those taking place within the Inclusive Framework. He also highlighted the priorities of lower-income countries when it comes to taxing the digitalising economy, suggesting four tests to measure the outcomes of the process:

  1. Do they make corporate tax easier to administer?
  2. Do they give (proportionately) more taxing rights to developing countries?
  3. Do they adapt rules to the challenges of digitalisation?
  4. Is there space for innovation?

He also outlined key issues with the recent OECD proposal from the perspective of developing countries, under Pillar 1, Pillar 2, as well as cross-cutting issues. See his PowerPoint presentation here.

The panel discussion following his presentation featured Ms. Victoria Perry (IMF), Ms. Marlies de Ruiter (Ernst & Young), Mr. Stephen Shay (Harvard Law School), Ms. Liselott Kana (Servicio de Impuestos Internos, Chile), and Ms. Irene Ovonji-Odida (ICRICT). To find out more about taxing the digitalising economy and developing countries, visit our new hub, which features a list of key resources, a curated Twitter feed, and the latest news and opinion on the issue.

See the World Bank’s short video of Martin at the conference:

Watch the full recording of Martin’s presentation below: