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ITR helps MNEs see the ‘bigger picture’

Multinational enterprises (MNEs) say that having access to ITR helps them be aware of tax news around the world, understand key trends, and feeds into decision-making.

In the past 12 months, ITR has adapted its focus to cover the in-house perspective and established a new website to host the content. Mattias Cruz, senior reporter, caught up with ITR’s core audience on the changes to gauge the most valuable aspects of the subscription.

Awareness of key tax developments

Tax executives in internationally operating businesses use ITR as an essential part of their work. It offers a broad range of topics and developments, which helps them to be aware of key tax developments.

Karine Halimi-Guez, managing director of tax at FedEx, said she sees ITR as a “contribution to the bigger picture”.

“Sometimes there’s so much going on about specific issues, it forces us to lift our noses from our desks and look around,” Halimi-Guez said. “It increases our level of awareness on some topics. It’s definitely an important contributor.”

“It’s really good to have an eye over different countries and you can rely on ITR to have the latest updates. Without it, it would be difficult to be aware of what’s hapening in other countries,” said the international tax and transfer pricing manager at a leading luxury eyewear company.

The focus on issues in challenging jurisdictions such as Brazil, Italy, India and Poland keeps taxpayers informed of key changes. The market-driven coverage of global developments such as the OECD’s work on pillar one and pillar two was also noted as essential by a number of tax executives.

ITR has also developed a COVID-19 hub to help tax professionals navigate the altered tax landscape through a digestible range of article.

Forward-looking piece also offer thought leadership and insight into the tax world of tomorrow. Articles examine a post-crisis world with higher tax rates, new taxes targeting the digital economy and the environment, tighter enforcement through further digitalisation, more aggressive tax authority behaviour and increased hostility in some regions.

Trends and regional analysis

Companies say that analysis on wider trends and deep dives on important topics are helpful, ensuring that in-house tax teams are up to date with corporate tax strategies being deployed by competitors and other businesses in key areas.

“What I appreciate the most are the articles that give you an overall picture on trends or hot topics,” added Giordani.

This points to forward-looking articles such as direct and indirect tax discussions in APAC, EMEA and the Americas. This is supplemented by trend pieces on operating in Africa, and the proliferation of digital services taxes.

ITR also serves to monitor important case law changes by producing articles such as transfer pricing cases to watch in 2020 and others covering landmark rulings which affect the arm’s length principle (ALP).

Some MNEs have also noted that reading ITR helps them with their decision-making.

“The intelligence gathered by ITR and peers’ comments are good source of information that can help my decision making process,” said Stephanie Li, tax director at Acer.

“It is informative and, when read [together] with other articles, is driving our strategy,” said Brenda Engelbrecht, group tax executive at Aspen.

Readers have said that the balanced combination of new developments, in-house opinion pieces and soft skill articles is what sets ITR apart. Tax executives appreciate concept pieces such as the taxation of space, the implications of mining the Moon, cannabis taxation and more holistic pieces such as diversity in tax departments and the reasons why taxpayers are moving away from the Big Four for advice.

Insight into peer strategy

The in-house led coverage also provides insight into how peers and competitors are approaching certain developments.

“There’s a lot of articles with comments from business, mostly from MNE heads of tax. So I see that we are sharing the same problems in different jurisdictions. Having peer comments is the real added value,” said Jacek Przybylski, international tax manager at Henkel.

“An article showing what other tax teams are doing [makes it] easier to communicate this with upper management,” said luxury eyewear company tax manager.

The content is equally important for tax advisors because their clients want to know the bigger picture.

“One question I find myself asking my advisors much more than I ever used to is: ‘what is everyone else doing?’”, said Samuel Morgan, EMEA head of alternatives tax at BlackRock at a recent event. “Making sure that we're not either aggressively off-market or behind the pack in terms of thinking on is a very valuable insight with abundance.”

As the demands on taxpayers change, the service they are seeking from external advisors is evolving too. As a subscription, ITR is able to help consultants do their job.

Explaining tax to upper management

Furthermore, tax professionals say that ITR helps to explain tax issues to non-tax people. Even though the content is high-level and can be technical, it is clearly laid out and breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-read copy.

“I’ll make reference to articles published by ITR to assist me in communicating my tax strategy with the senior management,” said Li.

The degree to which MNE tax executives and other tax professionals use ITR varies depending on the demands of their role, but they all agree that it offers coverage of tax developments, analysis of wider trends and in-house insights.

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