SARS becomes stricter

Tax Preparation

In this respect, SA falls in line with a world wide trend: the discernible flexing of muscle by tax administrations in a bid to generate extra revenue. For many countries this is a knock- on effect of the global financial crisis; for many African countries, enhancing domestic revenues is also crucial to reducing dependence on foreign assistance.Whatever the local imperative, the environment has never been riper for tax controversy in developed and emerging markets.The worry for companies is that aggressive clampdowns by a country’s revenue authority can lead to prolonged, burdensome wrangles that can ultimately render it inefficient for firms to continue doing business there .But an important policy shift is taking place, of which business, especially multinationals, should take heed: not only are tax administrations becoming more aggressive, they are becoming more effective. It emerges from a recent global survey by Ernst & Young that taxpayer data is being shared by tax administrations as never before , while multilateral tax enforcement efforts are growing.The Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre is an example of this collective approach, as is the recent signing by SA and 12 other countries of the convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters.But perhaps the most chilling manifestation of this increased co-operation between tax administrations is the dawn of the joint audit investigation, which is a simultaneous examination of a multinational by the tax authorities in a number of jurisdictions .In the face of this phalanx of revenue scrutiny, it is perhaps of some comfort to be aware that tax administrations recognise that to be effective they need to co-operate with taxpayers and engage with them in dialogue.As the chairman of the African Tax Administration Forum Ataf, Oupa Magashula, said recently: “Experience has proven that there are distinct and tangible benefits for both revenue and business, as well as their advisers, to engage in more consultative and collaborative relationships.” While at present Ataf has no formal procedure to facilitate engagement with investors, Magashula has said he would welcome suggestions from business on a possible African engagement strategy.However, Ataf has also been vocal about the need to bed down measures to stem tax avoidance and evasion in the region, saying developing countries lose revenue through the siphoning of money to tax havens.The recognition by tax authorities that dialogue with taxpayers is integral to effective tax collection is encouraging. But for it to be meaningful, authorities should resist the temptation to paint all multinationals with the same brush. Just as emerging markets can differ considerably from one another and should not be regarded by investors as homogeneous, so it must be recognised that multinational companies often differ markedly from one another in approach, behaviour, policy and their philosophy on tax matters.Realistic communication between tax authorities and taxpayers should engender a more holistic appreciation of what multinationals are doing and lead to a less confrontational position being taken by all sides.In the meantime, routine information sharing between tax authorities, together with more sophisticated risk assessment and audit methodologies, mean that tax risk management needs to be securely embedded in companies’ approach to corporate governance .

via On my mind – Tax laws-Tax muscle-flexing.

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Accounting can be door to professional class

Ernst and Young HQ in Munich, Germany

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WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) – When Gemma Urquiza interviewed for her job at True Partners, a Chicago tax and consulting firm, she remembers talking about her university honors, her ambitions and her dad’s restaurant.

Urquiza, 25, is the eldest of four children of Mexican immigrants and, like many first-generation Americans, she’s found accounting to be a perfect fit.

Her employer likes her work ethic and multicultural upbringing, as well as her technical mastery and spreadsheet savvy. She likes the variety of the job and its stability.

Accounting has long provided a path for first-generation Americans into the professional classes. Good pay and a focus on numbers makes it an attractive career choice.

Still, recruiting the children of immigrants is complex, say some Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Parents’ opinions are influential and they often don’t know the field, a problem that alternatives like medicine or the law don’t face.

Once on the job, first-generation CPAs can face new challenges like decoding the relationship-driven, sometimes self-promotional American business culture.

As accounting firms rev up recruiting efforts on college campuses this fall, there is rising demand for multicultural candidates like Urquiza to match an increasingly global focus.

“It’s important to have talented accountants that reflect the demographic of a global economy.” Ken Bouyer, Ernst & Young Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting, told Reuters.

Specific figures on first-generation CPAs are hard to come by, but the biggest firms are spending millions of dollars on a diversification push that’s trying to reach minorities in college, high school and even as early as grammar school.

At a time when it is tough for many new graduates to find work, the Big Four accounting firms — PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & YoungKPMG– report they expect to hire more than 30,000 graduates this year.

via Accounting can be door to U.S. professional class | Reuters

China’s accounting problem

KPMG offices in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. May...

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The Big Four — PwC, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG and Ernst & Youngaudit the books of most of the world’s largest corporations through networks of legally separate audit firms. Their Chinese arms, which also audit Chinese operations of large multinational companies, have also been beyond the reach of PCAOB inspections.

via Analysis: Painful choices loom on China’s accounting problem