Tax has never been so topical.
Recent media scrutiny into the tax affairs of well known multinationals has pushed tax to the forefront of board room discussions. Large, household names have faced intense criticism over the tax planning policies they have used. Tax planning has become more complex with increasingly elaborate mechanisms being used to diminish tax liabilities.
This trend has arisen as multinationals have imposed generic goals which they and their advisors have worked towards. These have included moving profits to where they are taxed at a lower rate, shifting expenses to where they are relieved at a higher rate or making use of existing tax attributes (e.g. tax credits, losses etc). Companies have been driving these goals to minimise their tax burden, albeit within the letter of the law.
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By Paul Butterworth MNI, Global Head of the Maritime & Shipping Practice at Odgers Berndtson