The launch of tax advisory services in Belarus - a matter of time

Jun 28, 2017

The experts in the final conference under the joint project of UNDP and the Ministry of Taxes and Duties "Support to tax advisory services in Belarus" have expressed the confidence that taxpayers in Belarus will soon be able to benefit from the services of professional tax advisers.

As expected, professional tax advisory services will improve tax compliance, strengthen the legal safeguards for taxpayers, expand career opportunities for young professionals, help improve the business environment, and attract more investments to Belarus.

The launch of professional tax advisory services is expected after the signing of the presidential edict "On tax advisory services". A Chamber of Professional Tax Advisers will be created to provide professional oversight in the field.

According to Vladimir Mukvich, Deputy Minister of Taxes and Duties and National Coordinator for the project, tax advisory services will provide the taxpayer with stronger protection. In his opening remarks, he emphasised the significance of the new services for business and the government.

"The tax authorities realise very well that in order to secure more tax revenue there need to be strong and stable companies. The government has an interest in maximising the number of such companies," said Mukvich.

Michael Preiser, Professor and Doctor of Law and a practising tax advisor in Germany, is confident that the new area of professional activity represents an important career opportunity for young professionals. In his remarks, Mr Preiser, who has advised and mentored the project since its beginning, illustrated his point by providing statistics on the numbers of tax advisory service providers in select European countries.

In Germany, there are over 90,000 individual certified tax advisers and over 9,000 licensed firms, and in the Czech Republic 4595 individuals and 870 firms have been certified.

"Tax advisers are high-class professionals, but they still need professional insurance to give confidence to the taxpayers. "Tax advisers purchase insurance against professional errors worth up to 10 million Euros," reported Mr. Preiser.

During the project, 37 individuals gave completed training to become professional tax advisers. It is only a matter of time before they can start operating on a firm legal foundation.

"As soon as the edict is signed and comes into effect, this first cohort of trained specialists will be able to serve business clients, subject to successful completion of a qualification examination," said Taisiya Yeletskikh, manager of the Tax Advisory Services project.

As concluded by Natalya Karkanitsa, UNDP Programme Analyst, tax advisory services can help improve tax administration, open new business opportunities and strengthen Belarus' attractiveness to investments.

The final project conference presented the key provisions of the draft presidential edict "On tax advisory services", reviewed the initiatives of the educational institutions to provide training to professional tax advisers, discussed prospects for outsourcing of tax services, and reviewed opportunities for collaboration between the Taxpayer Association and the Chamber of Tax Advisers on improving the tax and business environment in Belarus.

The joint project of UNDP and the Ministry of Taxes and Duties "Support to the establishment of tax advisory services in Belarus" was launched in February 2015, and has been implemented for 3.5 years. The project is being funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).     

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