Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

We are all confronted with receiving several daily emails from many sources focused on the latest developments in all areas of tax: International, Federal, State, Direct / Indirect Taxes including VAT, etc.  Individuals in a tax organization, located in various parts of the world, generally try to browse the latest news for their area of responsibility, creating duplication of effort and the collective loss of valuable time.  Additionally, as tax responsibilities increase with limited talent resources and budget constraints, it becomes exponentially more difficult.  Opportunities may be lost, while risks of “not knowing” are also increasing.  The obligation to use new knowledge effectively could be viewed as a process to potentially gain efficiencies.

The following ideas are provided for consideration:

  • Share great resources and bookmarks with peers within your organization and global network, resulting in a Best Practice resource listing.
  • For tax teams organized by function, assign one team member of each function the daily task of reviewing the relevant sources of new developments, summarizing those articles that may be relevant and distribute to other team members to further investigate the impact upon the company and action steps.  This responsibility should be an objective, and measured, part of their job description to further enhance responsibility and accountability.  This change should create more time for other members within that function also browsing the latest, and often identical, developments.
  • Review the budget for cost/benefit effectiveness; coupled with a link to past success based on utilizing that particular resource.
  • Review fees incurred to obtain information, such as tax treaties, from external parties; could this resource be in-sourced more effectively?
  • Meet with your advisors providing tax developments; discuss the possibility of having them briefly summarize benefits (company specific) from key developments when you receive them, versus a straight transcript of all developments that contain many items that are not relevant.
  • Review key developments monthly within the functions and /or overall team to ensure relevant items are receiving priority and action plans.  This review could be internal, as well as coordinated with external advisors, to ensure there are no gaps.  Proactive advisors should recommend this action for a win-win result to encourage interaction and alignment, while also providing a good opportunity for brainstorming other ideas.
  • Review the legal structure efficiency, at least annually, to determine if business strategies have changed and/or new developments have occurred that provide opportunities.
  • Highlight developments aligned with your strategic tax objectives.
  • Align tax developments with the Tax Risk Framework.

I look forward to your insights.

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