I haven’t spend much time on this blog in relation to the VAT job market here in the U.S. Until recently there wasn’t really one. The main VAT experts were secondees at Big 4 firms – good people that came and went. A dozen VAT talented holdouts, mostly in senior roles, remained at the Big 4, but very few transitioned to industry.
However, I share TaxTalent’s analysis (re-printed below) that lately there has been more industry demand for U.S. based VAT staff. More multinational companies are bringing VAT resources in-house. I found however that these folks are mostly sales tax specialists with an interest in VAT – not seasoned VAT/GST experts that are brought in from VAT jurisdictions.
I find that odd, because I would expect U.S. headquarters to be very interested in minimizing global tax risks. And with VAT being a very significant element of global sales, a successful indirect tax strategy directly improves shareholder value. You will say “but other than streamlining income tax, there is no financial benefit from global VAT management!”. Agreed. It is very difficult to put a pricetag to minimizing audit risk and mitigating legal, accounting, compliance and supply chain risks. But when your vendors, customers and internal business teams start complaining, the tax department will have no specialist resources to fight the indirect tax fires.
Interestingly, indirect tax salaries here are often significantly lower than what Europe-based multinationals offer – and always (indeed without exception) lower than what U.S.-based Big 4 firms offer.
Have a look at TaxTalent’s review – not just for indirect taxes, but for income tax as well.
“For US based companies, we strongly believe that tax and financial leadership will be taking a hard look at their staffing resources overseas and adding staff that brings indirect tax expertise to the table. We also project that the larger companies will consider creating a global indirect tax role that we could see being based at the US headquarters as opposed to being kept offshore.
The demand for additional indirect tax professionals overseas is being driven by two forces:
1. Risk Mitigation – the growing exposure that is building as foreign entities become more aggressive in the transfer pricing area.
2. Lost Tax Planning Opportunities – we believe there is a growing sense that a significant amount of money is being left on the table.”
The report is here: http://www.taxtalent.com/2015-global-tax-market-assessment