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09 June 2023


Combatting Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators (COFFERS)

Combatting Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators (COFFERS)

Partnership Category:

External partnerships to enhance SDG-centric research activity – e.g. research consortia, collaborations

Name of Partners:

Utrecht University, Netherlands;

Copenhagen Business School, Denmark;

City University London, United Kingdom;

Tax Justice Network, United Kingdom;

Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick, Ireland;

University of Bamberg, Germany;

Charles University, Czech Republic;

University of Leicester, United Kingdom;

Altinbas Üniversitesi, Turkey; and

Warwick Business School, United Kingdom

Name of Partnership:

Combatting Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators (COFFERS)

Primary purpose:

Research on the role of tax systems, practice and policy in delivering on SDG10, Reduced Inequalities.

Contact for this partnership:


Practical involvement:

The European Union confronts expanded inequalities across a range of areas from gender, to generational, wealth, mobility and opportunity. One underlying factor common to these expanded inequalities is deficiencies in fiscal systems. The ‘Combatting Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators’ (COFFERS) project addressed these deficiencies as policy innovation at national, regional and international levels undergoes a period of accelerated development. The consortium identified deficiencies and opportunities for upgrading in tax law, tax policy development, tax administration and enforcement at the EU level and across Member States.

This was an intense project funded by the EU to the tune of EUR5,000,000 over a three and a half year period, with ongoing work since the project formally ended in 2020. The partnership was organised into distinct working packages, addressing impact, regulatory and administrative capacity, jurisdictions, expert networks, corporate form, risk assessment, policy advice and dissemination.

Benefits of this partnership to the institution as a PRME Champion:

The project enabled KBS to structure a research project addressing the role of tax experts and professionals in the tax ecosystem, and their role in delivering a sustainable future.

Benefits of this partnership to the partner institution(s):

Because the project was truly inter-disciplinary, and included activist groups as well as academics in a wide range of countries, we all learned a great deal from each other. We were also able to share those learnings with policy-makers and practitioners across Europe.

Spillover effects/cross pollination/impact of this partnership:

As well as a series of academic and practice-facing publications, a range of international seminars and masterclasses, national and international policy briefings, the partnership also produced five tools to assist in the fight against tax evasion, avoidance and fiscal fraud. A brief overview of the results are accessible through the European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). The five tools can be accessed directly at this link: https://coffers.eu/

Lessons learned from the partnership:

bringing a multi-disciplinary perspective to the "wicked problem" of social inequality and the role that tax, tax avoidance, tax professionals and money-launderers can play can really achieve results that could not be attained working independently.

Duration of partnership:

Formally the partnership ran from 2016 to 2020, as funded by the EU, with ongoing less structured bilateral engagements since then.

Communications about this partnership:



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