It has more than 6,000 members (including over 600 corporate tax advisers), who must meet high standards in terms of expertise, professional skills and ethics. These standards form a guarantee for the quality of service and are important because the occupation of tax adviser is not legally protected in the Netherlands. As years of practice have shown, we are in a most excellent position to monitor the quality, integrity and recognizability of the profession of tax adviser for the general public, without legal regulation. We do this through our entry requirements, our professional education and our independent disciplinary boards.
The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world with full university courses in tax law and tax economics. All NOB members have completed at least one of the two courses and therefore have the best possible background for the tax adviser profession. Another important criterion for NOB membership is the extent to which someone practices the profession as his/her main occupation. NOB members spend at least 3 days a week (24 hours) working as tax advisers in a NOB-recognised tax consultancy. If the NOB-recognised tax consultancy is part of a multidisciplinary collaborative partnership, this collaborative partnership must conform to the Charter of Independence established by the Board of the NOB.
New members are prospective members for the first three years. During that time, they gain experience in the profession and follow the required postgraduate NOB professional course. In addition to substantive subjects, there is also plenty of attention for communicative skills.
The NOB regularly organizes educational meetings for all members, covering (specialist) developments in the field of taxation.
There are also two separate sections within the NOB: one for corporate tax advisers and one for young members (up to 35 years of age). Both sections organize their own activities.
Code of professional conduct
NOB members are bound to the Rules of Professional Conduct, of which core article 1 reads: “A member is obliged to perform his work in his capacity as a tax adviser in an honest, conscientious and appropriate manner and to refrain from all that which is in conflict with the honour and dignity of the profession.” Further more a member is obliged to notify the Board of the NOB in writing if he has been convicted of a crime or has received an administrative penalty for committing a violation in his work or he has received a negligence penalty with regard to his own tax liabilities.
The NOB has a long tradition in the area of legal commentaries. Since 1981, we have had a special Legislative Proposal Committee, which, over the years, has submitted extensive commentaries on proposed Dutch tax laws and made them available to parliament. The scientific level and technical depth of these commentaries is widely recognised.
The Professional Affairs Committee was formed in 2005. It regulates all non-fiscal affairs involving the profession of tax consultant. As such, the committee plays an important role as a trend-watcher. It ensures that the NOB is well prepared for all political, social and economic developments of significance to the profession. Frequent topics concerning the committee’s work include:
- Confidentiality obligation and legal privileges
- Legislation to tackle money laundering
- Cooperation with other professional groups
- Professional ethics
The Professional Affairs Committee is supported in its work by ad hoc working groups. At present, three of these are active, in the areas of: anti-money laundering; the confidentiality obligation and legal privileges; horizontal monitoring. The Professional Affairs Committee also regularly publishes reports on topics relevant to its area of operation.