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Taxand sheds light on tax change at the ITR Asia Tax Forum 2015

Taxand sheds light on tax change at the ITR Asia Tax Forum 2015
14 May 2015

Taxand, the world's largest organisation of independent tax advisors to multinational businesses participated in the International Tax Review's (ITR) tenth Asia Tax Forum, held in Singapore on the 6 and 7 of May by providing 11 Taxand and guest speakers across three panels for more than 170 tax professionals in attendance. The Taxand panels addressed a wide range of issues including the implementation of anti-abuse legislation, the approach of Asia Pacific governments to BEPS and how multinationals can maximise the benefits of various tax incentives.

The Asian tax environment continues to change rapidly and this year’s forum covered a broad spectrum of tax issues currently affecting the region, such as changes to transfer pricing rules, the evolution of indirect tax systems in China and Malaysia and more aggressive audits. The forum also focused on the significant international movement towards the implementation of BEPS.

Taxand’s key pointers from the event for multinationals were:

  • Prepare for an era of increased transparency and compliance: with global initiatives such as BEPS and FATCA catalysing increased transparency and reporting requirements, taxpayers must now implement complex internal compliance systems and ensure direct relationships with local authorities
  • Ensure a watertight and collective ‘corporate memory’: As country-by-country reporting and exchange of information come into play, MNCs must ensure that they clearly document their commercial purposes and that all key business representatives make them their focus
  • Be GST-efficient: As governments across Asia turn to GST to plug local deficits, understanding and planning for the impact of GST at each stage of the supply chain is crucial for taxpayers
  • Track local BEPS implementation: As the OECD Actions are deliberated - and unilateral country implementation increases in the short-term – companies should ensure they remain abreast of local interpretation of OECD guidance to manage risk and capitalise on opportunities across Asia and globally
  • Find your alternative dispute resolution solution: As we move towards more fiscal transparency and inter-governmental information sharing, we will no doubt see increased cross-border litigation, with a particular focus on TP. Alternative dispute resolution, where possible, should be sought as a swift and more cost-effective method
  • Clarify complexity with technology: in-house systems are inextricably linked to tax complexity: companies will need to invest further in internal reporting systems to keep up with compliance requirements and share essential documentation globally
  • Manage your ‘tax reputation’: Where the ‘immorality of avoidance’ debate continues and authorities look to alternative communication/the media for company information, companies should prepare and maintain a stringent public communications strategy around their tax activities
  • Make tax a concern for every business representative: to mitigate risk and manage tax complexities, taxpayers should have regular company briefings on tax ‘responsibility’  to ensure a consistent public face as well as tax efficiencies across all business operations

Dr Veerinderjeet Singh, Taxand Global Board Member, Taxand Malaysia said:

“Tax across Asia is increasing in complexity as local tax systems evolve in response to interstate competition and attempts to modernise tax processes. For instance, as India attempts to rival China as the economic powerhouse within the region, it too will try and mirror China’s success in implementing VAT reforms, exemplified by Modi’s recent attempts to instigate a unified GST tax which is predicted by some to turn India into a genuine single market for the first time. However, tax efficiency is not the only purpose of GST, it is also becoming a desirable tool for governments across Asia to raise revenue and to plug local deficit gaps; Malaysia succeeded in implementing GST tax this year" 

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Taxand's Take

“There are issues aside from indirect tax currently capturing Asia’s attention outside the region. Governments and taxpayers are watching the OECD’s BEPS initiatives unfold to evaluate their impact, particularly the likes of ‘country - by - country’ reporting, to determine what regulations may be replicated to their benefit. Now more than ever it is vital for multinational corporations to be one step ahead in tax planning and keeping their ear to the ground on both local developments and international initiatives to ensure they are not caught unawares, and to make the most of opportunities across Asia and globally.”


Taxand's Take Author

Veerinderjeet Singh
Taxand Board member