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Hold on to your hats…

The new year has started with a question. While this question can be phrased in a number of ways, the common denominator is the topic: US tax reform.

Over the past weeks, in-house tax professionals have been telling me that this is set to change the tax structures of almost all multinationals, no matter what sector they're in.

For years, tax strategies have been geared around dealing with the US's outlying headline rate and system, but they will now need to be overhauled to suit the new reality – a reality which most of us are still working to understand.

But it's not only companies that have jumped into action; the 'race to the bottom' on corporate tax rates narrative will get plenty of airtime this year, with French President Emmanuel Macron mentioning it in his Davos speech, and across the Pacific from the US we've already seen China introduce retroactive incentives to keep companies on-side. But which of the world's superpowers has the more attractive tax system now? We explore this on page 18.

Beyond tax reform, companies also have to contend with the ever-growing appetite among politicians, the public and the media for greater transparency. We caught up with firebrand tax campaigner and politician Margaret Hodge, for an exclusive interview on page 25.

And while companies gear up, on the one hand, for the first release of country-by-country reports, and rapidly approaching implementation dates across a range of BEPS action points, on the other they must be looking into the future and preparing for the opportunities and difficulties that technology in taxation is already starting to bring (see page 28 on the complex world of taxation and robots).

There is also the taxation of the digital economy to take stock of. Italy has agreed plans for a unilateral measure targeting transactions – but is this really the right approach if, as BEPS Action 1 taught us, the digital economy is the economy?

Any one of these issues would, 10 years ago, have been enough to justify some complaints about a busy year ahead. With such a glut of risks and rewards, 2018 is set to be the busiest year so far. What an exciting time to become editor!

From myself and everyone at International Tax Review, the very best of luck for the year ahead. We'll be doing our best to guide you through it online, in print and at our events.

Joe Stanley-Smith
Editor, International Tax Review

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