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Economic troubles challenge Asia's tax directors

The global economic downturn is putting corporate officers under extreme pressure.

The deepest international recession for decades means that there few certainties in business at the moment. Tax directors in the Asia-Pacific region cannot avoid these challenges. They have to deal with compliance demands whether the economy is up or down, but they are now being asked by their management to deal with new issues.

No longer are tax executives being asked to look at the implications of M&A or a product launch. Now they are being charged with generating or preserving cash, such as looking at the tax advantages of particular refinancing strategies or identifying the most favourable jurisdiction in which to base a group restructuring. And there is even more focus on tax efficiency through tasks such as managing the company's effective tax rate.

At a time when taxpayers are turning away from doing deals, officials are getting on with enforcing national tax laws by focusing on issues such as collection techniques and closing the tax gap, or the difference between what is paid in tax and what officials believe should come in.

Policymakers are continuing to develop their international tax rules, too, through passing new laws, such as transfer pricing regulations in China, or extending treaty networks.

These issues, and more, will have a significant effect on how tax directors in Asia deal with the tax affairs of their companies in 2009 and 2010. They will be discussed at International Tax Review's fourth Asia Tax Executives' Forum at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on May 13 and 14. The event is being supported by Tax Executives' International.

The panels will cover topics such as transfer pricing, tax controversy, international tax planning and permanent establishment issues. The conference will also feature separate sessions on China and India.

Discounts are available for tax executives and TEI members.

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