TBILISI, Georgia, 14th September, 2023 (WAM) –Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director General of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), Vice President of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum (BRITACOF), underlined the remarkable achievements it has made over the past four years since the launch of its first edition in 2019.
He noted that the BRITACOF managed to play an effective role in increasing cooperation in the tax sector, and raising the level of coordination between the countries covered by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The FTA Director General headed a delegation from the UAE to the fourth BRITACOF conference, held over three days in Tbilisi, Georgia, under the theme ‘Improving Tax Environment’, recording notable international participation.
The delegation from the Authority included Sara AlHabshi, Executive Director of Tax Affairs Sector, and Saida Kaddoumi-Osman, Acting Director of the Tax Policy and International Relations Department. The conference was also attended by Ahmad Ibrahim Al Nuaimi, Ambassador of the UAE to Georgia.
Al Bustani noted that the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum (BRITACOF) has succeeded in establishing advanced and effective mechanisms for exchanging expertise and information among tax authorities in the countries participating in the initiative, which serves to remove any obstacles to trade and investment among these countries, by means of an institutional framework derived from the BRITACOF.
“The UAE is a leading member of the Belt and Road initiative, which was launched around 10 years ago with the aim of facilitating global trade, fostering investment exchange, strengthening ties between countries in Central and South Asia, Africa, and Europe, all the while expanding growth opportunities along the ancient Silk Road that connected Arab and Chinese civilisations for centuries,” he added.
Al Bustani underlined the importance of the FTA’s participation in these conferences in order to shed light on the ongoing technological, legislative, and procedural developments taking place in the UAE’s tax sector, as well as its implementation procedures, which align with best practices.
He reiterated the Authority’s commitment to continued cooperation and coordination with its partners in the tax sector and all related areas around the world, particularly in the countries under the Belt and Road initiative, in an effort to maximise the available opportunities for developing and enhancing tax procedures, improving their efficiency, and strengthening its systems through digital transformation.
Sara AlHabshi gave a presentation with a detailed overview of the UAE tax system, highlighting the FTA’s ongoing development plans to ensure high levels of tax compliance, as well as fairness in the application of tax legislation, especially in cases of tax dispute resolution. To accomplish these objectives, the Authority adopts advanced and transparent tax dispute resolution procedures that provide taxpayers with the option to appeal and ask the FTA to reconsider some of its procedures and decisions on three levels, two of which fall outside the scope of the judiciary.
A fourth level has recently been added, where Federal Decree Law No. (28) of 2022 on Tax Procedures included an optional fourth level allowing taxpayers to submit a request to review the tax assessment issued by the Authority, before resorting to a Reconsideration Request at the FTA, followed by the Tax Dispute Resolution Committee, and finally escalating to the competent courts if they do not accept the decisions of the FTA and the Tax Dispute Resolution Committee.
The fourth BRITACOF fostered notable cooperation among tax authorities from countries participating in the Belt and Road initiative.
The Forum included a meeting of the Supervisory Council, which discussed ways to improve the tax environment from the perspective of businesses and commercial activities.
Attended by tax experts and representatives from tax authorities, international organisations, and many companies around the world, the conference included a series of dialogue sessions addressing various topics, including Overall Planning of Improving Tax Environment, Transparency of Rule of Law in Taxation and Tax Administration, Reducing the Burden of Taxes and Fees, Streamlining Tax Compliance, Information Technology and Tax Environment Improving, Facilitating Tax Compliance, and Dispute Resolution Mechanism and Tax Environment Improving.