IRC forges strategic partnership

Commissioner General of the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) Sam Koim says banks are a ‘strategic partner’ of the tax office and a ‘key gatekeeper’ in the fight against tax evasion.

Koim stated at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the BSP Financial Group Limited (BSP) and the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) on the 28th of March, 2023 at the IRC Headquarters. 

The MoU establishes a framework for cooperation and coordination between the tax administration and the bank. The MOU also sets out the expectations and responsibilities of each party and outlines the process for resolving any disputes or issues that may arise during the collaboration.

This between IRC and the BSP Financial Group establishes guidelines for the parties to enhance the efficiency of the current procedures for compliance to statutory notices such as garnishee notices, notice requesting taxpayer information, and the newly introduced issuance of preservation of assets notices. 

Additionally, the MoU provides means for sharing and securing information effectively, taking into account and protecting the privacy of both taxpayers and BSP customers. The protocol ensures prompt compliance and communication between the entities, avoiding any unnecessary delays or backlogs in the daily operations of both parties. 

Emphasising the importance of the MoU, Koim said, “The banks play a critical role to tax administration as without them, tax collection would be.”

CEO of BSP Financial Group Limited, Mark Robinson was gratified that BSP was the first national bank to sign a MoU with the country’s tax authority. 

“We would hope that it could be a template for other financial institutions in the country to follow and ensure there is smooth cooperation in terms of carrying out necessary legal processes and obligations that we as banks should,” said Robinson. 

CEO Robinson assured that the sharing of information does not breach customer confidentiality rules. The Commissioner General also assured the bank’s customers that the MoU does not mean that the bank will provide information at will but will be acting under compulsion of law through statutory notices. 

Only designated officers of the IRC will have access to sensitive information provided by BSP through this agreement. A secure path for transmitting data and information will also be established under this arrangement. 

This is yet another positive step by the IRC in its efforts to widen its detection mechanisms to catch incidences of tax evasion and avoidance.

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