Integrity and Values in Tax Administrations


Juan Antonio Garde and Alejandro Luelmo are officials with a long history in the Spanish administration and Inspectors of the Internal Audit Service of the Tax Agency. They are members of the CIAT Standing Committee on Ethics.

In all countries, tax administrations play a key role, not only in the material scope, but also on the perception of citizens about the legitimacy of governments in carrying out their economic and social purposes and in relation to their institutional and democratic quality. The existence of systemic corruption and/or lack of enforcement and internalization of the corporate integrity principles and values affects the mission and vision of these organizations and, consequently, the welfare of citizens and the management and competitiveness of their economies.

This issue has been for long admitted and recognized by CIAT as a high priority in its strategic action plan. One of the exponent was the creation of the Standing Committee for Ethics and Integrity, which assumes the ultimate goal of fostering and promoting ethics and fighting corruption through a strategic work program that meet the needs of member countries, and to use the experience and best practices to facilitate an ongoing dialogue between tax administrations around the world.

In this context, the actual meeting of the members of this Committee in Ottawa (Canada) in April 2016 agreed that, to maximize efficiency in their operation, they would create “ad hoc” working groups linked to issues of utmost importance in combating corruption and promoting integrity, under the direction and coordination of determined countries.

One of these working groups, whose leadership is assumed by the Spanish Tax Agency, is related to the demands of an organizational model for tax administrations to allow the development of integrity and corporate values ​​and simultaneously define the role that an appropriate internal control model should play in their operations. All this is also coordinated with the Transparency working group of the Ethics Committee itself.

A first approach to the intended objectives was presented to the Ethics Committee members at the plenary meeting held in Madrid during the month of March 2018 with the presentation of the document “Framework for ensuring integrity and values in the tax Administrations.  which advocates a comprehensive analysis of key aspects for strengthening ethics and effective fight against corruption in tax organizations. For its preparation, the Spanish delegation to the Ethics Committee has been inspired by different documents from international organizations, European Union, and comments and suggestions made by the tax administrations of Chile and Uruguay.

In order to visualize the results of the different working groups at the meeting of the CIAT General Assembly held in Ottawa in May 2018, the viewpoint of each member was presented on the issue. All the CIAT members were called to commit to specific actions aimed at developing the values ​​of integrity in line with the document’s proposals now presented and play a more pro-active role in fighting corruption in their respective countries.

The document “Framework for ensuring the integrity and values ​​in the Tax Administration” constitutes a first approximation, to adjust to a greater operational specificity and incorporate experience and best practices from more countries in order to facilitate its implementation in the future.

This way is to enrich with country participation and contribution of their visions, this document could accompany and induce the development of a larger project and structured to incorporate a methodological guide, consulting programs and proposed commitments specific, by the countries in this area.

The Standing Committee on Ethics, therefore, keeps working at a time when the strengthening of the institutions, the fight against internal and external corruption is more than a necessity.

Download the document: “Framework for ensuring the integrity and values ​​in the Tax Administration” (Spanish Only)

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Disclaimer. Readers are informed that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, organization, committee or other group the author might be associated with, nor to the Executive Secretariat of CIAT. The author is also responsible for the precision and accuracy of data and sources.

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