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The importance of research when looking for tax advice

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Hiring the right external advisers can be one of the most difficult jobs for a tax department.

Tax executives are often faced with highly marginal decisions when choosing external advisers. Even after they determine what sort of expertise and experience they need, among a range of appropriately-qualified choices, it is not always straightforward to pick the firm or adviser that will fit the precise requirements. And with the pressure on budgets that exists now and with that, the requirement in some companies to initiate a tender process for all work that will cost more than a certain sum, reliance on long-standing advisers is not always possible. It leaves tax departments with an unenviable task of working out where to obtain the best advice.

International Tax Review is undertaking a series of research projects that will attempt to find out what taxpayers want from their advisers and whether those needs are being met. The first vote is available here.

This poll covers six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and UK and four practice areas within tax: corporate, transfer pricing, transactions and planning.

The research attempts to establish how and why tax executives make the choices that they do about their external tax advisers and the way in which they use them. For example, there are questions about whether use of advisers has increased or decreased over the last year, how often advisers are reviewed and why they are used, offering choices such as a reputation, technical skill and cross-border network.

As the research series is expanded to other countries, the information gathered will build up into a valuable resource about what is become an area almost as complex as tax itself.

Take the taxpayer poll today and tell your colleagues about it.

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