What’s hot in global tax?
Supporting businesses through uncertain times was a common thread for this year’s Global Tax & Fiscal Conference which provided valuable insight on trending topics including gender, mobility, BEPS, and transfer pricing.
The online event, held on four days between May 11 and 20, attracted tax experts from Praxity participant firms worldwide to learn, debate and network with international colleagues whilst gaining CPE accreditation.
Held at a time of uncertainty and increasing complexity in the global tax arena, the conference was a valuable opportunity to share knowledge on how Praxity firms are working together and guiding clients through this challenging period.
Steve Amigone, chairman of the Praxity Global Tax and Fiscal Working Group, Global Client Services Leader at US firm DHG, said: “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the current tax landscape, whether it’s Biden & Brexit, Pillar One and Pillar Two (BEPS blueprints), or diversity and inclusion. Praxity’s global tax professionals are helping to lead our clients through it.
“It’s important to see our global Praxity colleagues interact and engage in meaningful knowledge sharing. I was very impressed with the level of investment and preparedness from each of the presenters – especially the folks who presented at the very early morning hours to accommodate the global schedules.”
Gender and mobility
This year’s conference highlight was Women in Tax, a multi-firm and multi-gender presentation on diversity beyond gender with guest speakers from Europe and the US. Commenting on the subsequent debate around diversity and inclusion, Alexander Rasink, Tax Partner, Global Mobility Services, at Mazars Netherlands, said: “It was great to have a broader discussion around this often-sensitive topic.”
He also praised the Global Mobility and Private Clients Services session, which provided an example of multi-firm collaboration to solve client challenges, commenting: “It showed how it is possible for two separate groups to work together and share ideas on business development. There was great synergy and it gave me more energy to look for cross-service connection.”
Transfer pricing and Brexit
Other highlights included insights on Transfer Pricing, updates on US tax reforms and Brexit, plus new corporate tax workshops in which conference attendees worked together in small groups to find a solution to a tax dilemma.
Stijn Sablon, Tax Director, Global Mobility Services at Mazars Belgium, said the Brexit session was particularly insightful as it provided an opportunity to discuss the different tax implications of the UK’s departure from the EU. He also praised the four-day format, including pre-recorded sessions, which allowed people to participate in conference sessions during their normal working day. He added: “From a time-zone perspective, this pre-recording was a good set-up.”
Despite being held online, the event featured a strong social and collaborative element with break-out sessions to enable attendees to connect and chat using the innovative new Wonder Networking Platform. The aim was to recreate, as far as practical, the networking feature of traditional in-person conferences. Attendance was lower than expected which Stijn puts down to virtual meeting fatigue. Nonetheless, the Wonder feature was well received, as were the social features which included a virtual cocktail hour.
Alexander described the conference as “very successful, especially given the circumstances, adding: “There is always a reason to come together, even if you can’t do it live. It was great fun to connect with colleagues you don’t meet that often.” He had a special word of thanks for outgoing Praxity CEO Graeme Gordon, and his team: “Huge thanks to Graeme for all he’s done for Praxity and compliments to the organisation. They are so really good at what they do.”
His words were echoed by Stijn, who commented: “I also would like to thank the team for the wonderful organisation of the virtual conference. Their presence, even sometimes behind the scenes, was necessary to have a good conference flow.”
Above all, this year’s event provided an opportunity to create stronger cross-firm ties. Steve concluded: “This conference has historically been a marque event for establishing and building working relationships with partners throughout the alliance, while at the same time providing relevant and high-quality CPE.
There is no doubt we delivered meaningful CPE that was both timely and relevant. From a networking perspective, I think we did our best to preserve this aspect in a virtual environment, and I look forward to our in-person meeting in London 2022!”