NEW YORK, Oct. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EY announced today the results of a new tax survey at its 34th Annual International Tax Conference, "Exploring the Possibilities." The survey revealed that senior tax executives are preparing for changes in the tax landscape spurred by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project.
According to the survey, 88% of tax directors believe the BEPS project will lead to significant international tax changes globally over the next two years, and as a result, 46% of respondents expect to make significant changes to their tax profile, up from 28% last year.
"Tax directors are anticipating and preparing for shifts in their company's tax profile with a growing sense of urgency due to the OECD's BEPS project," said Kate Barton, EY Americas Vice Chair of Tax Services. "In previous years, fewer tax professionals anticipated significant change, even over a longer timeframe."
THE BEPS EFFECT
Already, 61% of respondents have been affected by BEPS-driven legislation in at least one country where they operate. While concerned about several areas of the BEPS recommendations, 33% of respondents expect country-by-country reporting to have the greatest impact. Most respondents (73%) have already begun to analyze what country-by-country reporting will mean to their company, a significant increase over last year (47%). Transfer pricing had been the key concern in 2014 and remains the second most prevalent concern this year.
In addition, one third (33%) of respondents already saw tax authorities raising audit issues that reflect BEPS areas, with 64% identifying transfer pricing as the most prevalent BEPS-related audit issue. They anticipate making changes, particularly to transfer pricing documentation (56%) and methodology (35%), as well as financing structures (35%). In addition, 64% said they are more likely to consider using the APA process to manage risk and obtain certainty.
"In light of the OECD's announcement earlier this week, companies now more than ever should take action to identify the impact of these recommendations on their business and tax planning," said Jeff Michalak, EY Americas lead for International Tax Services. "These BEPS recommendations will likely be followed by inconsistent and uncoordinated country implementations, leading to uncertainty for taxpayers, the possibility of double taxation and potential controversy."
The impact of country-specific tax law changes is demonstrated in the results of this month's The Tax Council and EY Tax Reform Business Barometer in which 78% of Barometer respondents think significant US tax policy changes will reflect consideration of the OECD BEPS project.
Overall, 52% of respondents are currently under audit in five or more countries, an 8% increase year-over-year, with 66% reporting that the enforcement posture and tactics of foreign tax authorities are more aggressive. When asked to rank the issues that arise as challenges in their organization's foreign country audits, respondents selected transfer pricing related to goods and services and transfer pricing related to intangible property first and second at 31% and 27%, respectively.
Other findings of the survey include:
83% of respondents expect upward pressure on their global tax rate within the next few years, 65% of whom see tax law changes as a primary contributor
83% also believe the evolving taxation of the digital economy is important to the future of overall worldwide taxation, affecting primarily nexus, permanent establishment and treaty evolution
27% are contemplating new operating models for digital transactions
66% anticipate a significant corporate transaction within the next 12 months, with 81% of those respondents expecting an acquisition
Respondents cited India (30%), the European Union (25%) and North America (21%) as the most contentious regions for transfer pricing audits.
About the EY 34th Annual International Tax Conference survey
The 365 survey respondents represent senior tax executives from large public and private companies across 22 countries, 74% of whom are from companies headquartered in the U.S.
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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member firm of EY serving clients in the US.