Historically, the world of tax has not been one of the most dynamic areas but in recent years, in the context of challenging fiscal conditions, the topic of tax has become the highlight and not the back burner.
David Prestwich, new Tax and Legal Services (TLS) Leader for PwC in the Caribbean explained that, “Tax has become headline news and a highly emotive subject. The global financial slowdown and some high-profile cases of perceived tax ‘avoidance’ have given rise to relatively new concepts of tax ‘fairness’ and ‘transparency’. As such, multinational businesses are under increased pressure to report what tax they pay, and where this is paid.
“In addition, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project is placing burdens on large multinational businesses to support prices used on group transactions between countries and where taxable profits are realised and, in some cases, to report this information directly to tax authorities. With increased global information sharing and exchange of information, this is likely to give rise to increased scrutiny on companies by governments, tax authorities and NGOs on matters of tax,” he added.
Prestwich was speaking to stakeholders of varied sectors including government, Thursday evening, November 23, at his welcome cocktail event held at the Drift, in Holetown, St James.
He noted that as a result of all of these changes that clients, companies and governments will have to get used to dealing with an increased level of uncertainty around tax matters, both domestically and globally, but pointed out that PwC have the resources and the experience needed to build the trust needed and solve these important problems.
“At PwC, our role is to help clients deal with this increased uncertainty by helping them look forward and plan accordingly. I have had considerable experience of dealing with global companies, governments and NGOs on matters of international tax, consulting, planning and compliance matters. I am joining an already strong team in assurance, advisory, tax and legal services so we are in a position to provide strong guidance and market leading support for our clients to navigate through this uncertainty,” said Prestwich.
Clients face many issues because of these and other changes; from dealing with costs to coping with the global reach of implementation and PwC have developed an approach which can help clients face these changes in a holistic and streamlined way.
In addressing those in attendance, Michael Bynoe, Territory Leader, PwC East Caribbean, noted that PwC has rolled out regional best practices and have a strong team in Barbados supported by the wider region capable of not only dealing with the issues outlined above but with a host of other complex matters facing our clients.
“We have changed our skill sets where necessary moving some functions to Barbados and relocating others where it made sense to do so. We have also had to get accustomed to working with, and trusting partners and leaders in other offices. I believe that we have now reached this steady state. [Our] difficult change is behind us and we have moved on. We now have a firm that is so very much stronger, as a result.
“I sometimes feel that we as a people are becoming complacent, and we seem ever more willing to settle for less than the best and sometimes even for the unacceptable. We need to be bold, to be innovative, to be risk takers and to be passionate about the development of our businesses, our communities and our country. I believe that PwC has the skills to help all of you who wish to embrace this challenge. We want to be there to help you through your journey of change. We, better than anyone, will be able to empathize with you and share our insights because we have had to change ourselves,” said Bynoe.