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Deloitte's Annual Indirect Tax Survey Released

by Amanda Banks,, London

21 April 2015

Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has released the findings of its 2015 indirect tax survey, charting the key considerations for indirect tax professionals in recent times.

Indirect tax continues to be a topic of discussion at board and senior management level, the survey says. Two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) said that value-added tax and/or goods and services tax had been discussed by the board or senior management in the last year.

Kendra Hann, Indirect Tax Leader at Deloitte, said: "There are definite themes in the topics discussed at boardroom and senior management level. HMRC's policy on the VAT treatment of holding companies, the implications of the Skandia case about VAT grouping, managing compliance risk, and managing partial exemption were all topics cited by a number of respondents."

Over half of indirect tax professionals have been asked to justify their indirect tax strategy over the last year, receiving questions from a broad range of stakeholders within their organizations. There continues to be interest from employees inside (36 percent) and outside the tax function (38 percent), commercial teams (34 percent), non-executive directors (7 percent), and board members (30 percent).

Around two-thirds of respondents say that their organization has started to look at the impact of the OECD base erosion and profit shifting project (BEPS), and in the majority of these cases (57 percent) they involve the indirect tax team. In a fifth of cases (22 percent), the indirect tax team was closely involved and over a third (35 percent) said they were involved in a limited way.

Deloitte said over 70 percent of UK respondents said they have met with the UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs, to discuss VAT in the past year and describe their relationship as good (59 percent) or excellent (21 percent).

Hann added: "Many respondents referred to regular meetings with HMRC, risk reviews, and other customer relationship manager meetings. Aside from these regular meetings, the most-often cited reason for a meeting with HMRC was to discuss partial exemption. Discussions also took place regarding a number of other issues, including VAT return queries and changes to business structures and systems."

Almost 60 percent of respondents said they were responsible for indirect tax outside of the UK, mostly in the EU, but significant numbers said they were responsible for indirect tax matters in other regions. This is consistent with the findings from previous surveys.

Hann concluded: "Indirect tax professionals are faced with ongoing global developments in indirect tax law and policy, with countries continuing to adopt VAT and GST systems and adapt their existing systems in line with international norms. Significant recent developments include the introduction of GST in Malaysia, the proposed GST in India, ongoing changes in China, and changes to the VAT and GST treatment of electronically supplied services in a number of jurisdictions."

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | value added tax (VAT) | India | interest | law | employees | China | United Kingdom | professionals | Malaysia | services | Europe | Tax

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