It’s been just over five months since the massive package of tax reforms commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was signed into law. Of course, it may seem a lot longer for tax leaders tasked with unpacking the details of the legislation and evaluating its impact on the financial statements.
There’s an upside to all of this hard work, however. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for tax professionals to enhance their department’s profile in the C-Suite, according to Nancy Manzano, director in the Chief Tax Office at Vertex, in her article, “U.S. Tax Reform: The Strategic Opportunity for the Tax Professional.”
The piece ran in CPA Practice Advisor, a publication that’s been keeping an eye on the law’s impact from the perspective of its readership of tax and accounting professionals in public practice. “Savvy professionals will quickly realize there has never been a greater opportunity for their departments to stand out to the C-suite,” Nancy writes. “Not only can they help the C-suite better understand changes, they can also guide them as strategic advisors by evaluating the impact of reform on current operations and identifying options for restructuring operations and/or legal entities.”
To seize the opportunity, tax leaders should address two questions, according to Nancy:
- How will tax reform change tax processes and posture? TCJA affects all phases of the income tax life cycle. Provision and compliance will involve new, complex, interrelated calculations that may make effective tax rate management more challenging. Tax audits will likely be more frequent, targeting the new calculations. Tax planning has also become more complicated, with ramifications in areas as diverse as intellectual property, supply chain, and M&A strategy.
- How well positioned are your current tax systems to deal with new data demands? Data management capabilities are crucial in dealing with the challenges posed by TCJA. Tax leaders should look for systems that use standardized methods to collect financial and tax data from around the world; provide visibility into the data that drives the effective tax rate, as well as scenarios and what-if calculations to support effective tax rate (ETR) analysis; and support repeatable processes to preserve data control and integrity.
Technology will be key to successful planning, forecasting, provisioning and shifting strategy to accommodate ever-changing tax regulations, including U.S. tax reform.
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.