All things Digital – especially Tax

  • November 13, 2015

The annual Gartner Symposium has long been recognized as a venue for leading-edge technology trends. This year’s event was no different, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that our corporate tax domain is ahead of the trend curve in one key respect.

This year’s Gartner Symposium, the event’s 25th anniversary, featured a theme of “Rise to the Challenge” – the challenge being the rapid acceleration of digital business adoption. The conference’s main message centered on the fundamental transformation of how business value is created. Today, algorithms working on data are increasingly responsible for creating new business value and/or minimizing an enterprise’s risk exposure. The number and types of data sources that business can apply algorithms to are escalating. So, too, are the platforms that leverage these analytical engines for various business purposes.

As this message was applied to a broad range of business areas, I was struck by its connection to the way tax data and related algorithms are transforming corporate tax. This is where tax is ahead of the curve. After all, corporate tax was a pioneering user of algorithms (i.e., tax rules and formulas) to add value and minimize risk long before the data analytics revolution took hold.

Today, tax is entering a new era that poses new business opportunities and new risks. This transformation is being driven by an escalation in the sources and types of data relevant to tax compliance being generated by new digital business models. This transformation is also being driven by how governments perceive these data assets and by the development of new laws (including an overhaul of the global tax system) that redefine who has access to the tax data that companies generate.

These drivers guarantee that new algorithms – within both global tax functions ¬and global tax jurisdictions – will be applied to a rapidly expanding amount of data sources. This means that more tax functions will need help rising to the challenge.

Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.

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