Endless Challenges are Whacking Away at Tax Planning

Have your tax professionals worn out their mallets?

Tax leaders who’ve grown weary from beating down a procession of major tax management challenges – only to see an onslaught of new tax challenges pop up each time – might find that their jobs feel like an endless version of the arcade game Whac-A-Mole:

New rules concerning digital transactions: Whack!

European State Aid investigations: Whack!

U.S. corporate tax reform: Whack (for now).

BEPS: Whack, whack, whack (with plenty more whacks to come).

Economic volatility and revenue-hungry tax jurisdictions: Whack!

Brexit: Possible future whack.

Created in the mid-1970s, Whac-A-Mole challenges mallet-wielding players to hammer down on a plastic mole as it randomly pops up in one of five holes – slowly at first, but with ever-accelerating speed. Players receive points for clean hits.

Sound familiar?

Each time an opportunity arises to conduct some honest-to-goodness strategic tax planning, it seems like tax functions are thrust back into crisis mode while hammering away at a new change or challenge. Many of these pressing issues feature numerous sub-challenges. In this way, a growing number of tax functions probably feel like they have a dozen or more high-stakes Whac-A-Mole games taking place at once.

So what’s the solution? Hammering takes a lot of time and money while taking tax professionals away from planning and other strategic activities that can deliver value to the business beyond compliance. Besides, most tax functions operate with a limited amount of proverbial quarters at their disposal. What makes more sense is figuring out how to automate more of the hammering that tax functions have to do. That means looking for opportunities to extend the reach of existing tax automation and also considering high-ROI opportunities to invest in new tax automation with a far greater reach.

That way, tax leaders and their teams can hammer less and plan more while adding real value to the bottom line.

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Nancy Manzano

Tax Director

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Nancy Manzano is a Director in the Chief Tax Office at Vertex, responsible for insight and thought leadership regarding in-house corporate tax department operations, spanning income, global and transaction tax. A seasoned tax professional, Nancy is a licensed C.P.A., has a B.S. in business administration from Drexel University and an M.S. in taxation from Widener University.

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