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Introduction and methodology

Methodology

Indirect Tax Leaders is a list of the leading indirect tax advisers in the world.Inclusion in the guide is based on a minimum number of nominations received. Besides the required number of nominations, entrants must also possess (1) evidence of outstanding work in the last year; and (2) consistently positive feedback from peers and clients. Firms and individuals cannot pay to be recommended in Indirect Tax Leaders

It would be easy to reduce indirect taxes to GST, VAT and Customs. But, of course, they are far more numerous, and complex, than that and include other transaction taxes of all kinds and environmental charges, such as carbon taxes, to mention only a few other examples. One thing is for sure, the importance and complexity of indirect taxes is growing as politicians shy away from raising taxes on income and look to raise more money from what their citizens consume. On top of that, some important economies, such as India and China, have decided their indirect tax systems need reform and have embarked on ambitious plans to shake up how they tax consumption at a national level. China's VAT reforms are further along than India's, where it seems there will be no long-promised national system of GST until 2016 at the earliest.

The EU is changing its place of supply rules for providers of digital services, such as publishers, on January 1 2015, and bringing in a mini-one-stop-shop to make registration and payment easier at the same time.

And a national sales tax has been on the list of possible reforms in the US for some years as lawmakers there struggle to come up with ways of narrowing the country's budget deficit and see a nationwide VAT as the way to do it. However, given the hostility Republicans and Democrats feel towards each other, a national sales tax is unlikely to get any further than being a possible change to the tax system.

At a multilateral level, the OECD Global Forum on VAT agreed, at its meeting in April this year, to endorse the international VAT/GST guidelines, which the OECD described as "the first internationally agreed framework for applying national VAT rules to cross-border transactions" and "a big step towards reducing double taxation and under-taxation in trade".

If you add in the increase in global trade, which brings Customs into play, it is clear that indirect tax is an area where it is essential that taxpayers can secure the best advice as they try to reduce uncertainty in their tax affairs.

And that is what this publication, the third edition of International Tax Review's Indirect Tax Leaders' Guide, is all about. Between its covers, you will find the names, and biographies in many cases, of the world's leading indirect tax practitioners, which were collected after an independent research process. It should give taxpayers confidence that if they decide to hire any of these individuals, they will be getting the best in the field.

Ralph Cunningham,

Managing editor, International Tax Review

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