04 Nov
Events

Taxation in Times of Crisis

Once more, the fourth annual Financial Services Tax Conference (FSTC22) brought together leading thinkers, experts, policymakers, and academics in the field of financial services taxation. SDS was delighted to sponsor this memorable event consisting of four webinars during the week, one networking event on 13 October, and one in-person conference on 14 October with an amazing line-up of speakers, tax experts, and specialists from the financial services industry and tax authorities. The theme for FSTC22 was Taxation in times of crisis, with a focus on how the industry responds to the perpetually evolving economic climate.

The event was aimed at financial services professionals keen to engage in and learn more about the most important developments in the tax industry. The conference provided a fantastic opportunity to take part in debates and discussions with the most qualified and knowledgeable professionals.

The conference consisted of a series of four webinars held Monday through Thursday and a networking event on Thursday evening, culminating in the in-person conference on Friday.

Four webinars during the week covered some of the topics currently most discussed:

  • The Great Tax Resignation picked up on the topic of attracting and retaining specialist tax staff by designing new career paths to make the workplace more inclusive, personally satisfying, and adaptive in order to meet the challenges brought about by digitisation, globalisation, and sustainability.
  • In Tax, Tech, what’s going on? panelists discussed the challenges for the industry caused by the exponential growth of digital asset investment as well as new challenges for global tax authorities.
  • In the webinar Digitising WHT Reclaims, the panel including Susanne Rauscher-Nwokedi from SDS covered topics related to digitising the withholding tax reclaims with a look at the EU’s withholding tax relief system and a review of the implementation of the OECD TRACE regime in Finland.
  • The webinar O Tax, Where Art Thou? provided an overview of tax as a topic at the top of the agenda worldwide, driving decisions on policy, trade, strategy, and sustainability, with tax leaders facing new challenges such as rapidly changing compliance obligations and the necessity of contributing to the ESG agenda.

On the morning of the conference day, we observed a bit of a rush hour feeling at the registration desk, where a crowd of attendees, speakers, and panelists came to pick up their name badges.

The opening words were spoken by Ali Kazimi of Hansuke, who welcomed all attendees and especially the main sponsors WTS Global and SDS.

The aim of the conference – with most sessions being held as panel discussions rather than classic lectures – was to encourage the audience to ask questions, comment on what was said in the panels, and actively engage in the discussions, which was successfully implemented during the entire conference day.

The sessions of the conference were very much influenced by current events and affairs, thus again covering the cum-ex affair, which was named the single biggest destroyer of trust between financial institutions and tax authorities. In this case, everything failed – from internal controls and compliance within financial institutions and external auditors (Big Four) to regulators and tax authorities. As a matter of fact, this had and still has a huge influence on policies and the scrutiny of all tax authorities and regulators.

Since the loss of trust is seen as a direct consequence of the cum-ex affair, several sessions tackled the question of restoring trust in the system with topics around audit failures and audit reforms, ESG challenges, the break-up of the Big Four, wealth tax, etc.

Two exciting topics with enormous audience participation were global tax management and the question of how much tax transparency really exists. When talking about tax transparency, you cannot avoid discussing international reporting regimes implemented in the last decade, such as FATCA, AEOI, Common Reporting Standard (CRS), MDR, DAC 6, etc., and all other regulatory and reporting obligations which financial institutions have today. However, it turned out that the crucial question is not whether you have your regulatory reporting process in place and formally fulfill your reporting obligations, but how to deal with those obligations and how to enforce them.

CONCLUSION

  • This conference was a gathering of industry specialists, experts, tax authorities, and academics. It provided a comprehensive overview of the current hot topics in the tax industry and the challenges it is facing.
  • All the topics discussed in the four webinars, the presentations, and the panel discussions on the conference day are more than challenging for the entire financial industry as well as for the technology providers. However, they are more relevant than ever.
  • As a leading provider of software solutions in the area of international tax and regulatory reporting for FATCA, CRS, QI, and OECD TRACE, SDS was delighted to support and sponsor such an excellent industry event.

Observation by:

Hrvoje Kajzer 

Feel free to contact me anytime for further information, an expert chat, or any discussion about the topics mentioned above.

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Hrvoje Kajzer
Sales Manager