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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.

The importance of good indirect tax advice for companies has never been more important than it is today. The prevailing worldwide trend away from corporate taxes and towards transaction-based taxes has continued, albeit at a slower rate, over the past year and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future.

During the past 12 months, we have seen 1.3 billion people adapt to China's VAT, which was expanded to cover more industries. The coming year is likely to see another 1.2 billion people transition to a uniform indirect tax system if India implements the GST regime on April 1 2017, as it has targeted.

Meanwhile, companies and advisers in certain jurisdictions are already feeling the impact of the next big indirect tax trend – the move towards destination-based indirect taxation. Already implemented in South Africa, the EU, Japan and South Korea, consumption is taxed at the location of the consumer – not of the supplier, as has previously been the case. The trend existed before the OECD's BEPS action plan was unveiled, but has been rapidly accelerated by BEPS Action 1.

Companies and advisers ahead of the curve should take note of advice already available in countries where the implementation of destination-based systems is happening to ensure they are prepared for the next wave of countries introducing the measure. Russia will bring in its new distance-selling regime on January 1 2017, while New Zealand's VAT overhaul on October 1 2016 – 30 years to the day since the nation first introduced the tax – will provide a best-practice model for destination-based VAT and GST systems.

We're also seeing changes worldwide in taxation on everything from oil and gas to cryptocurrency, new legislation on vouchers, and more measures to combat fraud.

The expertise offered by advisers listed on the pages of this, the fifth edition of the Indirect Tax Leaders guide, is invaluable in a changing global VAT climate. Such is the nature of globalised business that multinationals must not only react to the legislation in countries in which they operate, but must constantly fine-tune their business models at a global level to remain compliant and effective.

Joe Stanley-Smith,
ITR deputy editor and Indirect Tax Leaders guide editor

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