What is tax policy – The future of tax

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When we look to the long term future, many of the challenges and opportunities that we see ahead, both for tax and more generally, can probably be grouped into categories which deal with shifts in economic power, demographic shifts, technological change, greater urbanisation and climate change/ resource scarcity.

There are trends that we see ranging from the current to the more medium term. We’ve now started to raise some of these trends through our regular Tax Policy Bulletins and alerts from specific networks, including for example those stemming from the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan, EU fiscal State aid and those around the likely growth of cooperative compliance in many territories. Our annual Paying Taxes report also provides trends in key elements of tax compliance around the world.

PwC is also interested in understanding and promoting debate on what people really want from their tax regime.

Latest Updates

  • December 2017US tax reform - What does it mean for Australia? – If the changes go through, the winners from Australia’s perspective include Australian companies who are seeking to use the US as a manufacturing platform for export to the Americas or more broadly to Asia and Europe. Australian companies that are exporting from Australia and importing to the US may find the proposed US changes to be disadvantageous depending on their global operational footprint.
  • December 2017US tax reform: Senate approves tax reform bill with amendments - Congress has continued to make dramatic progress in approving an historic tax reform, with the Senate now joining the House in having approved separate versions of tax reform legislation. The effort to enact a reform of US tax law providing a more competitive tax system for business taxpayers and improved economic opportunities for individuals and families is now entering a critical final phase.
  • November 2017Building Public Trust Through Tax Reporting Creating clarity or confusion? – Today’s tax professional operates in a challenging world, characterised by uncertainty, complexity and increasing scrutiny. Governments continue to balance the need to raise revenues with the desire for a tax regime which attracts and retains business and encourages it to grow. A broad range of stakeholders are asking whether companies are paying their ‘fair share of tax’ and there has been a decline in public trust, particularly in large business.
  • September 2017 - Spotlight: Defining Success What KPIs are driving the Tax function today? – How should success be measured? We explore established as well as new innovative key performance indicators (KPIs) that organisation can use to evaluate how well the Tax function is performing in today’s environment.
  • September 2017How blockchain technology could impact HR and the world of work - Blockchain is being hailed as the biggest digital development since the Internet. The technology creates a tamperproof log of events, allowing anything of value to be traded securely online. The potential to transform the workplace is huge - from validating people's qualifications, changing the way people are paid, to demanding an entirely new skills base. But are these just hypothetical scenarios for some future world? Or could change be around the corner, and are we missing a trick if we don't explore the potential now?
  • June 2017The Tax Professional of the Future – We explore how things like data and analytics are changing the tax professional of the future
  • May 2017Spotlight: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) - What Tax needs to know now – RPA continues to evolve with new emerging trends and greater impact on the tax function and its processes. RPA can have a significant impact as a result of its ability to reduce costs and re-direct focus on activities that create value and job satisfaction.
  • April 2017Business and Brexit: adding up the tax challenges – While trade deals and movement of people seem to be commanding most Brexit attention at present, tax is part and parcel of these issues, and companies are starting to wake up to the potential challenges they could face when the UK parts company with the EU.
  • October 2016How Blockchain will disrupt Tax - the experts decide  - Blockchain is being hailed as the biggest digital development since the Internet. Much has been written about how the technology - which allows anything of value to be traded securely through a tamperproof log of events - will transform business. Less has been said about how it will affect the world of tax.
  • October 2016Tax Function of the Future: Building the business case for change -  Find out the steps Tax should take to develop a comprehensive strategy, structure a roadmap that presents it as a function that is critical to the organisation and leverage a strategy in constructing and articulating the business case for change.
  • July 2016Why governments are excited about blockchain? – Blockchain could be one of the most valuable technologies for tax collection because of its ability to rapidly deliver high-quality, reliable information to a wide group of interested parties. It can deliver data in a format that’s interpretable and, in contrast to the way in which tax data is collected today, can look across a transaction and the tax treatments associated with it. In other words, both taxpayers and tax authorities can have equal confidence in the data that’s collected.
  • July 2016 - Blockchain – will it revolutionise tax? – A few questions that will have to be answered: Where do the transaction take place for tax purposes? Under blockchain, the transaction is recorded in many places simultaneously and the identity or location of the counterparty may not be know. What happens when customers barter? What’s the taxable value of the transaction? What’s the taxable value if the transaction is settled in a digital currency? Does VAT have to be accounted for, and is the rate affected by the location of the counterparty? And what about other transaction taxes?
  • May 2016Tax Function of the Future  - With the advancement of technology, data and analytical capabilities, the Tax Function of the Future will look surprisingly different from today’s.
  • May 20162016 FTA Plenary Meeting in China  - The discussions focused on three interlocking themes: effective implementation of the OECD/G20 international tax agenda; building modern tax administrations that effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly digital world; and helping build capacity in tax administration so that all countries can benefit from the changes in the international tax landscape. The following publications were also released at this event: Tax Administrations and Capacity Building: A Collective Challenge; Technologies for Better Tax Administration: A Practical Guide for Revenue Bodies; Rethinking Tax Services: The Changing Role of Tax Service Providers in SME Tax Compliance; Advanced Analytics for Better Tax Administration: Putting Data to Work; Co-operative Tax Compliance: Building Better Tax Control Frameworks.
  • May 2016 - The European Parliament's work on taxation - Fair taxation in the EU is high on Parliament's agenda, following the revelations as a result of LuxLeaks and the Panama papers. At a time when EU countries are struggling to recover from the financial crisis, MEPs are pushing for greater transparency and an end to tax unfair practices. Read on for overview of European Parliament initiatives.
  • April 2016Asia Pacific Tax Notes 2016 - The demand for increasing tax transparency for corporations emerges as a key area of focus for governments, tax authorities, the media and the public worldwide. There have been various measures considered by countries in the region for increasing tax transparency and enhancing cooperation between tax authorities. Examples include improved transfer pricing documentation and country-by-country reporting, mandatory disclosure of aggressive tax schemes, a mandatory public tax transparency regime and the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters.
  • March 20162015 China tax policy review and 2016 outlook - In 2015, we have witnessed that China, like many other jurisdictions, has already taken actions to localise some of the BEPS recommendations. Besides, China even went farther by improving her tax rules on offshore indirect equity transfers and clarifying her positions on intra-group outbound payments, all with the focus on the alignment of tax and substance which is surrounding the essence of the BEPS project. Domestically, China was facing headwinds in 2015 as her economic growth was slowing down and trade becoming sluggish. In order to achieve a stable and sound economic growth under the 'New Normal', a combination of proactive initiatives were put forth in China's 2015 Government Report. Accordingly, China's Ministry of Finance (MoF) and State Administration of Taxation (SAT) followed suit to issue a series of tax measures to support these initiatives from a tax perspective.
  • February 2016Intergenerational fairness: a UK citizen’s view  - Intergenerational Fairness is one of the issues of the moment.  There's a prevailing narrative that babyboomers have benefitted from free education, generous pensions and the housing boom, while millennials have little hope of getting on the housing ladder, let alone saving for retirement.  Are things as simple as that and what do people really think?  We brought together a UK Citizens' Jury to explore the issues in depth, and see if the tax system can play a role in addressing intergenerational challenges.
  • February 2016Tax as a critical component in every finance transformation -Learn why many finance functions, large and small, are undertaking transformations and why tax needs to be an integral part of this from the outset.
  • January 201619th Annual Global CEO Survey – Redefining business success in a changing world  – Today’s CEOs face a business environment that’s becoming increasingly complicated to read and adapt to. This complicated world picture isn’t just being shaped by economic and geopolitical trends. We believe there is a more fundamental shift taking place, namely from a globalising world to one with many dimensions of power, growth and threats.
  • November 2015Paying Taxes 2016 – For each of the 189 economies in the study, three sub-indicators are assessed; the costs of all taxes borne by the company (the Total Tax Rate), the time required to comply with tax obligations and the number of tax payments made. Over the 10 years of this publication there has been a steady decrease in our three sub-indicators, as across the world the tax cost has gradually reduced and electronic systems have made tax compliance less burdensome. The rates of decrease have however slowed in recent years and this year in particular we have seen a mixed picture for the Total Tax Rate. While across the globe the average Total Tax Rate has fallen very slightly, it actually rose in more economies than it fell. Economies are taking different approaches to tax policy in the face of similar economic pressures. As well as our analysis of the Paying Taxes sub-indicators and reforms, we also look in this publication at the place of employment taxes in a balanced tax system, the role tax can play in reducing the informal economy and how to improve relationships between taxpayers and tax authorities. We also have some in-depth views from selected economies.
  • August 2015Tax reporting and strategy: meeting tomorrow’s tax challenges today - The tax landscape is constantly changing. Regulatory requirements are increasing, business and finance transformation is commonplace, and authorities and boards are demanding that tax risks are effectively managed. In this fast changing world, we’re helping clients build a tax strategy for the future. Our complete approach to tax management brings together tax function design, technology and compliance delivery to help you understand and meet these challenges head-on.

Contact us

Stef van Weeghel

Leader, Global Tax Policy & Administration Network

Tel: +31 (0) 88 792 6763

William Morris

Deputy Leader, Global Tax Policy & Administration Network, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (202) 312 7662

Edwin Visser

EMEA Tax Policy Leader, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 88 792 3611

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