ITIC's programs in the Eurasia region began in 1991 with an international conference, soon followed by an invitation from the chairman of the Russian State Tax Service and the Kazakhstan Ministry of Finance for a return visit to discuss the development of pro-investment, pro-growth tax reforms. Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, John Robson (Founding ITIC Co-Chairman), was an early visitor, and in July of 1992, Congressman Bill Frenzel (Chairman Emeritus of the ITIC Executive Committee) led a delegation of noted tax experts to Russia at the invitation of the Russian State Tax Service and Ministry of Finance; this included Dr. Charles McLure, Jr. of the Hoover Institution, and Daniel Witt, now ITIC President.
Visiting Russia at a time of rebirth, when the country's legal and fiscal infrastructure needed rebuilding from the ground up, those early Western delegations included many of the founding sponsors of ITIC who continue to support and actually participate with our efforts more than 20 years.
The vision of a new organization took shape soon thereafter; an organization that would support the difficult transition from communist to market economies, not only in Russia but also in many of the newly independent states in the region. Missions organized by ITIC’s predecessor organization, the U.S. Tax Foundation, led to the signing of cooperative agreements with the Russian Ministry of Finance, State Tax Service, and the Kazakhstan Ministry of Finance that established the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) as an independent, international NGO in 1993.
Over the years, these agreements have been beneficial to the host governments as ITIC delivered on its promises to help Ministers and Members of Parliaments to establish tax policies that stimulate investment, and help regional tax administrations with technical expertise on auditing and enforcement. These agreements have been periodically renewed between ITIC and the governments.
The results have been startlingly positive, justifying the risks taken by sponsoring Western companies whose expertise and effort have given ITIC a tremendously successful 20 years, and created a momentum and institutional presence that bode well for even greater accomplishments in the future.
The Eurasia program is ITIC’s longest and most developed. Additional examples of ITIC’s work in the region include:
- ITIC's effort to improve tax administration on the "front lines" was established in 2000 with the commencement of the Kazakhstan Mineral Taxation Academy (KMTA) and in 2001 with the Azerbaijan Mineral Taxation Academy. These tax and customs academies are interactive seminars that showcase host-country faculty and Western tax experts to jointly develop the curriculum to cover auditing and financial accounting practices, as well as tax policies and practices.
- Policy Forums, held on a regular basis in Russia and Kazakhstan, provide government and parliament officials and company representatives an opportunity to work together to identify and solve specific tax and regulatory are being faced by investors.
- Working groups and committees provide useful vehicles to private and public sector officials in transition countries to focus on critical tax and investment issues, including value added taxes, income taxes, excise taxes, petroleum taxes, financial service taxes, and expatriate taxes.
- Training workshops and seminars for policymakers and parliamentarians have exposed hundreds of Russian and Asian parliamentarians, finance and tax officials to Western taxation and business practices.
“(Your work helps us) to define problems and lay out ways of further perfecting tax legislation and establishing a favorable investment climate in our country.”
“ITIC's very concrete work on the draft tax code chapters has been highly useful to the Ministry of Finance.”