Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Prepared Remarks of Commissioner of Internal Revenue Douglas H. Shulman

IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman has released the text of his address to OCED and international tax and business communities. Among the topics Shulman addressed was offshore tax compliance and international tax information exchange. You can find a segment of his speech below, courtesy of the IRS newsroom.

The starting point is looking for the right launch pad. I believe international bodies such as the OECD and its Forum on Tax Administration are a good start.

As Chair of the FTA, I am working with my international counterparts to build greater cooperation between tax authorities across the world as we strive to improve tax administration, both domestically and internationally.

The commissioners of the FTA can also speak with a unified voice on such critical matters as offshore compliance, corporate governance and high net-worth individuals, as well as lay out practical solutions for issues, such as a coordinated approach to joint audits and early competent authority resolution. Let me walk you through this:

Last year, when I had the opportunity to address this gathering, I told you that we planned to try to take international cooperation to the next level and that I thought this should include joint examinations. A year later, we are now working on developing a protocol for joint audits with other countries. And before I go any further, let me be clear on a critical distinction. A joint audit is not a simultaneous exam. Rather, it is a process where two or more countries join together to carry out a single audit of a company with cross-border business activities.

As we envision it, the joint audit will be more sensible and efficient for the participating business because the business will not have the burden of two exam teams conducting two audits, and it will make sure both countries receive the same information and presentations from the taxpayer.

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