EUROsociAL provided its support in the form of an advisory mission aimed at finding ways to improve the institutional image of the Directorate of National Taxes and Customs (DIAN).
The Colombian Directorate of National Taxes and Customs (DIAN), in its process of continuous improvement of management, service quality and image in the framework of the two most recent tax reforms (Law 1607 of 2012 and Law 1739 of 2014), aims to establish a medium- and long-term action plan with specific strategies aimed at fostering cultural change among Colombians and improving their perception of the institution. The ultimate goal is for the DIAN to consolidate itself as an exemplary agency that facilitates and promotes compliance with tax obligations. This action also needs to target civil servants.
In this line of activities, the Colombian tax agency expressed to EUROsociAL, a programme financed by the European Union, its interest in learning about the experience of Sweden through its tax agency (Skatteverket), as the latter has been rated by Swedish citizens as one of the agencies with the best performance in services and greatest expertise in matters of organisational climate. Skatteverket has also worked for over a decade on a strategy or approach called “Right from the start”, whose main premise is that the ideal for a tax agency is to make taxpayers perceive taxes as easily-fulfilled obligations, making compliance truly voluntary.
In this context, two civil servants from the Swedish tax agency, Anders Stridh and Lennart Wittberb, travelled to Bogotá in the first week of June. They transmitted Sweden’s experience to DIAN employees in key areas such as the culture of paying taxes and legality, key factors in the evolution towards a culture of legality and ethics that generates trust between citizens and the tax agency; the service model; exchange of best communication and information practices used in other tax agencies; the role of the media as opinion leaders regarding fulfilment of the DIAN’s mission; how to make accountability a permanent communication tool with citizens that guarantees participation and transparency in spending; how to create a Tax Observatory to share information, raise awareness and promote effective and ongoing dialogue with society; among others.
As an outcome of the activity, the DIAN will define an action plan to change the country’s tax culture and improve the institutional image of the DIAN.
This activity is part of the Voluntary Compliance with Tax Obligations action of the Public Finance area of the EUROsociAL Programme, financed by the European Union and coordinated by the FIIAPP, in which Spain’s AEAT and the CIAT are acting as operational partners.