At least 24 countries have now implemented, or are moving to, a model of cooperative compliance, a new concept to describe the ideal working relationship between large taxpayers and revenue authorities.
Tax Controversy Leaders is a guide to the leading tax dispute resolution lawyers and advisers in the world. In addition to highlighting tax professionals, the guide also includes litigators and barristers who may not practise tax on a day-to-day basis.
Inclusion in Tax Controversy Leaders is based on a minimum number of nominations received. Besides the required number of nominations, entrants into the guide must also possess (1) evidence of outstanding success in the last year; and (2) consistently positive feedback from peers and clients. Firms and individuals cannot pay to be recommended in Tax Controversy Leaders.
So does this mean that tax controversy specialists will be less in demand in future? Actually, it is quite the reverse.
Enhanced taxpayer-tax authority relationships are paving the way for new methods of settling tax controversies such as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). While working with revenue authorities in real-time, and attempting to resolve issues as they crop up, means that disputes-savvy advisers are now invaluable during the audit stages.
And with the advent of such mechanisms, taxpayers require a new and broader skill set from disputes lawyers and advisers. The ability to mediate, for instance, is highly valuable in the ADR process.
But litigation will not be supplanted by mechanisms such as ADR. The courts will always be required to decide on issues where there is serious disagreement between tax authority and taxpayer on a point of law, especially where there are significant amounts of money at stake.
And so the need for advice from professionals with expertise in tax controversy and dispute resolution is as pressing as ever. In the future, these professionals' services could be in even greater demand, as taxpayers need to involve them at earlier and earlier stages in the dispute lifecycle.
The third edition of Tax Controversy Leaders includes a greater number than before of controversy specialists with proven soft skills such as mediation. That reflects developments in taxpayer-tax authority relationships which have occurred in a number of jurisdictions over the last 12 months.
The practitioners in the guide have experience in all stages of tax controversy, including pre-audit, audit, ADR, administrative appeals, litigation and competent authority negotiations.
The guide aims to list controversy specialists who can cater for the full range of taxpayers' dispute resolution needs – whatever they may be – in every one of the 46 jurisdictions covered.
Tax Disputes Editor, International Tax Review