Taxpayer Rights as Human Rights – a new video –& End-of-Year Giving!

Dear Friends,

As we come to the end of yet another very challenging year, we are getting caught up on editing the videos from the two International Conferences on Taxpayer Rights that we held this year.  We are overflowing with important content, indeed!

Before I discuss the new video, I just want to make this request that you consider supporting the Center for Taxpayer Rights in your end-of-year charitable giving.  We need your help to continue our work in promoting taxpayer rights and access to justice in taxation.

And now to the new video, which is of the first panel in the 6th International Conference on Taxpayer Rights, hosted by the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa this past October.  The theme of the conference was Taxpayer Rights, Human Rights: Issues for Developing Countries, and we kicked off the conference with a panel on that very topic.  The moderator and panelists were, in speaking order:

  • Frans Viljoen, Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa (Moderator);
  • Judge Dennis Davis, Former President, Competition Appeals Court, South Africa; Chair, Davis Tax Commission;
  • Judge Bernard Ngoepe, Office of the Tax Ombud, South Africa;
  • Patricia A. Brown,  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Financing for Sustainable Development Office, United States; and 
  • Asha Ramgobin, Executive Director, Human Rights Development Initiative, South Africa.

I’m not going to regale you with the panelists’ accomplishments; you can read their bios here.  Suffice it to say, that listening to the panel again as I was editing it, I was really struck by how profound this panel is.  The panel opened with the observation that tax is at the heart of society’s ability to protect its citizens.  It impacts both collective rights as well as the rights of a taxpayer as an individual.  In fact, it is the balance between collective and individual rights that determines whether a society is fundamentally unequal.  What followed is one of the most thoughtful discussions about that balance that I’ve heard, covering constitutional rights, the foundation for taxpayer rights in South Africa, the role of international tax havens and corruption in violating both collective and individual human rights, and the role of tax professionals in facilitating those human rights violations.  The panel ended with a discussion of how one could effectively restore public confidence in our tax systems, and the effect of failing to do so.

I really encourage you to watch this video.  And we’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

In the meantime, thank you for sticking with us through this last crazy year.  We have lots of things scheduled for 2022 that we hope will be of interest to you all.  In the meantime, please consider making a contribution to the Center.

All the best,


Nina E. Olson
Executive Director