Governments around the world are either increasing indirect taxes such as value-added taxes or introducing them for the first time.

“The global tax environment is in a state of rapid change and indirect taxes are at the heart of it,” said Jeffrey C. LeSage, national managing partner in charge of KPMG LLP’s U.S. tax practice, LeSage was speaking at a conference sponsored last month in New Orleans by KPMG, the 2011 International Indirect Tax Conference.

Speakers and participants at the conference in New Orleans found consensus in their view that effectively managing corporate indirect taxes—ranging from state and local sales and use taxes to international value-added taxes—has become a major area of focus for companies worldwide, particularly as federal, state and municipal governments seek to raise revenue. 

“It has become an economic fact of life that governments worldwide are re-assessing their long-term tax policies and many are either increasing indirect tax rates—particularly VAT—or are considering introducing a national VAT for the first time,” LeSage said. “Global and domestic businesses are finding they need to keep pace with these tax reforms. They need to actively manage the new, emerging risks and opportunities related to them.”

More than 100 tax professionals from Fortune 1000 companies and large mid-market companies attended plenary sessions presented by KPMG tax professionals on topics such as global VAT risk and compliance, indirect tax performance management, VAT audits, and the prospects for a VAT in the United States.
Additional sessions on topics such as trade and customs, indirect tax technology, and regional VAT perspectives were also part of the program, as was a panel where senior indirect tax professionals from global companies shared their insights into managing global indirect tax.

“The KPMG conference participants confirmed to us that they are taking a holistic view of their domestic and global indirect tax operations,” said Sam Guevara, national leader of KPMG LLP’s U.S. indirect tax practice and conference speaker. “By being proactive and thinking strategically, they see opportunities to decrease compliance costs, potentially increase profitability and cash flow, and make better informed commercial decisions.”

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