Headlines: February 13th, 2013

Economists, accountants, experimentalists and psychologists are being brought together in the Tax Administration Centre. The centre is a joint partnership between the University of Exeter and the Institute of Fiscal Studies and it is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, HM Revenue and Customs and Her Majesty’s Treasury.

The centre is a response to the growing concern by the public and the business community about the unfairness of taxation with multi-national corporations paying little or no tax, despite receiving all the benefits provided by the state. The economic climate has prompted the competitors of the tax avoiding multi-nationals to raise their voices in protest, whereas in better times they remnained silent. The OECD has called for a crackdown on tax avoidance by multi-nationals and it cricised the ease with which ‘big guys’ shift profits to offshore havens. The think-tank warned that governments need to step up their efforts.

The aim of the centre is to support high quality research and related activities on tax administration, with a view to strengthening the theoretical and empirical understanding of the delivery and design of tax operations and policies.

The centre will engage with tax administrations, the media and researchers to disseminate this information throughout the policy and academic world. It also has exceptionally strong international connections and is developing links with experts at home and abroad, whose visits to the centre provide a forum for sharing knowledge and collaborating on new ideas.

Director of the Centre, Gareth Myles said: “The new Centre will deliver an improved understanding of how to enhance tax policies and administrative practices. It will achieve this by undertaking research of the highest academic standards in partnership with the HMRC and HMT. The outcome will be improvements in customer experience, economic performance and social cohesion.”

ESRC Chief Executive Paul Boyle said: “The Tax Centre is an important new investment for the ESRC. It is strongly aligned to one of our strategic priorities for economic growth and will help enable the development of robust government and private sector strategies to ensure the sustainable growth of the UK economy.”