Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

Posts tagged ‘Audit Committee’

Tax risks: Audit committee perspective

Deloitte’s Audit Committee Brief includes a summary and questions outlining Risk oversight and Tax considerations for audit committees.  A link to the publication is provided for reference:

Click to access ACBrief_NovemberDecember2014.pdf

Key observations:

  • Audit committees may have a risk committee (Will this be a continuing trend?)
  • Tone at the top is imperative for effective risk oversight
  • Insightful questions for consideration:
    • What internal controls are in place to address significant tax risks?
    • Is there a clear approach and justification for where risk issues are placed?
    • Is there a widely communicated process to quickly bring risk-related issues to the Board?
    • What issues should the audit (risk) committee be aware of when evaluating potential risks?

Risk governance is rapidly becoming the new norm, both by tax administrations to understand and rate risks of a taxpayer as well as an effective tax risk policy and framework for a multinational to identify and mitigate risks.  This trend will require additional resources to fulfill such commitments, immediately and ongoing.  

Audit committee agenda: Tax risk in focus

KPMG has provided a valuable reference re: 2015 audit committee topics, providing insight into company risks and the importance of governance.

The following extract, from the report provided as reference, addresses tax risks in the following manner:

Pay particular attention to the global “tax transparency and morality” debate being driven by notions of “fairness”and “morality,” and consider the impact of tax risk on the company’s reputation.Tax is no longer simply an expense to be managed; it now involves fundamental changes in attitudes and approaches to tax globally. Ensure that tax decisions take into account reputational risks and not simply whether the company has technically complied with tax laws. Monitor OECD and governmental efforts globally to address perceived transfer pricing abuses. Help shape the company’s tax risk appetite, and establish a clear communications protocol for the chief tax officer to update the audit committee regularly. Help ensure the adequacy of the company’s tax resources and expertise globally.

Click to access audit-committee-agenda-2015.pdf

Highlights of future trends:

  • Transparency
  • Reputation risk
  • OECD monitoring
  • Transfer pricing abuse
  • Tax risk appetite

To the extent the Audit Committee has not inquired into BEPS, tax risk frameworks, OECD Actions and transfer pricing governance,  a proactive effort should immediately begin to align the Board with the MNE’s tax risk posture and ongoing governance.  It is imperative a robust tax risk framework is established and communicated effectively.

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