IBFD Library 85th Anniversary

Antonia Eilander
July 2, 2024
min read

5 June 2024 was the 85 year anniversary of the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) Library establishment.

IBFD Library is one of the oldest and most comprehensive tax libraries in the world. Before you start mocking me for being an old fashioned nerd, let me stop you. I have dealt with crypto assets and AI transactions for the last 4 years. When there is no national tax law regarding crypto assets in a specific country (most of them), you have no other choice as a tax practitioner but to go to the library and immerse yourself in data. Books, tax databases, journals, you name it; anything that can support your work. 

I can almost see your smug smile telling me that AI can do that for me, but wipe that off for a second. It can’t. I tried all of them. AI is not and won’t be capable of handling international tax structuring. At this point, it is only good for writing you a catchy introduction. Nothing else. Libraries are thinking about integrating AI but in the meantime, you should just do your research the old fashioned way. There is nothing bad in that. 

IBFD Library is spacious, cozy, close to Amsterdam central station and has very good coffee. The librarians are very skilled and kind ladies that will help you with your research. You wouldn’t believe it but they can help you search for your materials. They help you with 30% of your work! 

There was a time when for weeks I struggled with OSINT techniques, trying to figure out some strange cases around crypto asset taxation. I spent only one day in the library and it was enough to find everything I needed.

If you can't afford to go to Amsterdam, don't get discouraged. You can search in the library portal without subscription, find what you need and try to access it via your own library. They can send materials – for research purposes only – and within the copyright rules.

I started my tax journey more than a decade ago in the IBFD tax library, when I was writing my 113 page thesis for Tilburg University (Hybrid entities - International classification and qualification problems with respect to partnerships. Case in point: partnerships with Hungarian companies as partners). It was awarded with Cum Laude, not only because of me but because of the access I had to the library.

I would personally like to thank the IBFD Library team for helping me deliver “cum laude” research up to this day, and I hope I will be drinking coffee with them when I am 85 one day. 

Happy Anniversary!

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