There have been three fundamental, evolutionary changes in the corporate tax function over the past 20 years with respect to its mission, its alignment with corporate strategy, and its influence on organizational behavior and resource allocation.The first, in the 1980s, focused on using technology applications to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of tax preparation, with cost reduction acting as the driver for improving business processes. The second, in the 1990s, involved value creation and developing holistic approaches to sustain tax minimization, which proved that the corporate tax function could positively affect the bottom line through effective tax planning.

Now, in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley era, the role of the tax department has evolved to managing enterprise risk through improved internal controls, business processes and corporate governance. Consequently, corporate tax departments, and their leaders, have had to recreate themselves again and adapt to this increased regulatory environment.

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