In this edition of Tax Watch we discuss the latest on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project.
Tax Watch: Edition 7, 2014
Project Do It, and our woeful R & D
Tax Watch: Edition 6, 2014
Managing operational tax risk: survey highlights
Does New Zealand need a capital gains tax?
How to fall foul of the IRD?
Tax Watch: Edition 5, 2014
Tax Watch: Edition 4, 2014
The case for an independent tax commissioner
We’ll help you navigate the global tax landscape
The business and tax landscapes have changed dramatically, and the pace and complexity of change continues to increase. We can help you navigate this shifting landscape.
Governments are tempering the need for revenue with increased competition for labor and capital. Tax authorities are adapting their enforcement strategies, focus and policies in response to the changing dynamics of business. Companies are balancing competing priorities, ensuring they maintain compliance while adding value.
We can assist you with these critical issues in today's tax environment, including:
- Operating in a shifting tax landscape
The global tax landscape continues to change in a dramatic fashion, with near-constant news hitting the headlines regarding shifting tax policy, increasing levels of enforcement and the growing potential of reputational risk.
Multinational companies now have to balance more competing priorities than ever before, ensuring they protect their business by monitoring and responding to changes in policy, legislation and tax enforcement, while at the same time ensuring they not only maintain the highest levels of compliance but also add value from the tax function.
Governments work to secure each tax dollar they're due
From a policy perspective, all governments want their country to be viewed as an attractive place to do business, to attract jobs and capital in an increasingly competitive globalised arena.
At the same time, they want to increase the amount of revenue they bring in. Governments are treading a fine line, constantly assessing how to secure the tax revenues they see as rightly theirs, while at the same time being in direct competition with other nations, making sure they do not scare off mobile capital.
Tax administrations for their part are adapting their enforcement strategies, focus and policies in response to the changing dynamics of business. They areworking to ensure that their resources are being applied to the right issues and taxpayers. They share more leading practices and taxpayer information with their foreign counterparts, to help them collect every dollar due.
Disputes are on the rise
The result has been more frequent, complex and higher value disputes between taxpayers and taxing authorities — a trend that is only increasing as countries collaborate together and as emerging markets gain in stature and influence, taking a more sophisticated approach to taxation. Penalties are becoming more stringent and the threat of reputational risk has risen significantly in recent months.
We can help you to navigate a route through this complex landscape.
We can help you monitor and react to quickly-changing tax policy and assess the economic and fiscal impact.
Where tax policies might create an impediment to your business that is unintended by policy makers, we can help you to collaborate – either solely, or as part of a broader grouping of companies who share a common objective – with government to:
- Explain the impediment
- Develop alternative policy choices which are logical and well thought out
- Model the potential outcomes
- Deliver an alternative choice to the government in a form with which policy makers can comfortably work
We also help you address your global tax controversy, enforcement and disclosure needs.
We focus on pre-filing controversy management to help you properly and consistently file your returns and prepare the relevant back-up documentation.
Where a controversy has already occurred, our professionals leverage the network's collective knowledge of how tax authorities operate, and increasingly work together, to help resolve difficult or sensitive tax disputes. To ensure that continuous performance improvements are instigated after a controversy, we work with EY's other tax professionals to ensure that similar events are less likely to occur.
Below you can access our views and analysis of some of the substantial policy and enforcement trends and issues at play today.
- Building tax effective supply chains
Today’s business environment for large, global companies is more fluid and complex than ever before. Companies are adapting their supply chains to respond to increasingly competitive market conditions and to deliver higher revenue and greater value to their shareholders and customers.
Now, more than ever, multinational companies are expanding their global footprint, to both seek new markets and to capture cost efficiencies. As part of this drive, they are increasingly expanding their supply chains.
With every development in the supply chain comes new costs and new risks to factor in
Alongside the advancement into new markets, leading companies are also further developing their existing supply chains to drive cost efficiencies and boost margins in their mature market operations.
Leading companies recognise the need for comprehensive, proactive planning
But whether it is to enter new markets or to drive efficiencies in existing markets, the new leading companies have one shared characteristic – they fully recognise that carrying out comprehensive, proactive planning across the new supply chain model can maximise the opportunities and mitigate the risks as much as possible.
Only with a truly holistic approach can all supply chain costs - including taxes - be assessed and managed.
The challenge of change
Every day companies face decisions about how to change their operations on a global basis.
The challenge in making such decisions is to look at the problem holistically, considering all facets of the problem. Tax consequences should be a part of the analysis because the tax impact of any business change may be very large and lead to a different result than an operations only analysis.
Often, companies will bring tax into the process only after the operational opportunities or alternatives have been narrowed and defined, resulting in unforseen outcomes. Instead by integrating international tax at an earlier stage, different alternatives or operating models may emerge as the most effective overall.
With the integrated approach of our Supply Chain Management practice, we can often unlock benefits that would not have been possible if such integration had not been present from the beginning.
- Managing mobile workforce risk
In today's globally integrated, tightly regulated and increasingly competitive business environment, one critical success factor stands out: people. People represent an organisation's most significant investment and offer a tremendous opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.
Where the leading companies are focusing their efforts
- Attracting and retaining the right people
- Global talent deployment and mobility
- HR and payroll effectiveness
- Risk, governance and compliance
Managing the risks of mobile employees
While optimising the competitive advantage of your people has long been a core objective, a more recent set of trends in the tax landscape means that large companies with an internationally mobile workforce are at a higher risk of tax noncompliance and resulting controversy than ever before.
The business and tax landscapes that have changed so much over the last few years continue to shift. The pace of globalisation is increasing, and the global financial crisis has acted as a catalyst to both globalisation and business transformation, with many emerging markets now seeing faster growth than before the crisis.
Alongside these megatrends, a variety of underlying issues are converging, resulting in a growing set of risks for multinationals who have globally mobile employees. While companies may closely define and execute their formal expatriate assignment policies, business travelers outside the scope of such formal policies are widely accepted to be creating a new set of risks for companies to manage.
Unintended tax compliance obligations
These travelers are increasingly creating unintended tax compliance obligations, and the resulting risks are not just personal. They are increasingly felt at the corporate level, with the corporate tax function often unaware of the extent of the spreading problem. Tax administrations are becoming increasingly aware of the issue, however, and are very effectively using new technology to identify where a tax obligation has arisen. In a rising tax enforcement landscape, this issue has significant potential to grow.
Managing these risks should be a burning platform issue for multinational companies.
A burning platform?
What may start as a relatively simple personal income tax compliance issue can quickly create a ripple effect, with risks such as the creation of a permanent establishment, an employment tax audit or the payment of a significant related penalty all occurring at the corporate level.
At the same time, the pace of legislative change (such as the increasing enforcement of permanent establishment) is actually speeding up. Countries are using this type of legislation to increase overall levels of tax revenue.
As governments continue to look for ways to widen the tax base, they are likely to learn from one another in fora such as the OECD's Forum on Tax Administration, CIAT, CIOT and SGATAR and quickly replicate the processes and technologies used. As they do so, we will likely see penetration of this issue into a broader number of companies of smaller size.
Companies, recognising the spectrum of reputational, personal and financial risks related to tax, are making strong efforts to be compliant. There is an increasing acceptance that such issues are becoming increasingly urgent from both a reputational and a financial perspective.
How we are helping companies
Our Human Capital network embeds processes and technology that will help companies to identify and manage STBT-related risks before they occur. Where controversy has already arisen, EY's global Tax Controversy network can use our insights into the culture and processes and relationships with each key tax administration to remediate issues. With prior year issues being rapidly unearthed, and with tax administrations focusing on this issue more than ever before, the time to act is now.
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