Tax Help Wanted … in Restructuring Supply Chains

Chief Tax Officer Michael Bernard weighs in on the tax implications of KPMG’s new study on changing global supply chains.

  • July 10, 2020

It’s a brave new world for tax leaders, especially those in companies whose supply chains have been disrupted by trade disputes, a global pandemic and the onset of a potentially lengthy recession.

Supply Chain Restructuring

KPMG examines the far-reaching implications of “Supply Chain’s New World Order” in a white paper that emphasizes the increasingly strategic role tax functions will need to assume as efforts to restructure supply chains gain momentum.

The paper’s underlying argument is that the “supply chain model of the future will deemphasize efficiency and lowest-cost as the dominant definer of value, in favor of a multidimensional value framework.” While cost will, of course, remain a crucial consideration, the paper’s authors assert that future supply chain decision-making will assign greater value to risk exposure, supply alternatives, channel complexity and—you guessed it—tax considerations.

Tax Considerations for Supply Chains

If tariffs, export controls and trade sanctions increase in the coming months, as KPMG projects, tax considerations will become even more important factors that determine how supply chains are designed and/or redesigned. Not only will tax considerations elevate in importance, they will also become more nuanced, according to the paper’s three authors.

“The global pandemic will add to the forces already eroding global free trade norms,” notes KPMG Value Chain Management Leader and International Tax Partner Brett Weaver. “In its wake, tax and trade will play a greater role in future supply chain design. This will necessitate a new level of collaboration between operations teams and the tax function.”

The paper’s authors also note that news coverage of the pandemic has helped drive the term “supply chain” into mainstream awareness, and the same shift may soon occur with the term “tax optimization.”

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. The views and opinions expressed in Tax Matters are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinion of Vertex Inc.

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