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KPMG MESA Tax Conference addresses new developments in global and local tax environment

KPMG MESA Tax Conference addresses Tax Developments

To address new challenges in relation to rapidly-changing tax compliance regulations, KPMG member firms held their annual MESA Tax Conference in Dubai

Zubair Patel

Partner, Tax & Corporate Services

KPMG in Kuwait


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MESA Tax Conference

Recently, Tax continues to be in the forefront of economic debate, and continues to drive decisions on policy, trade, strategy and business transformation around the world. To address new challenges in relation to rapidly-changing tax compliance regulations, KPMG member firms held their annual MESA Tax Conference in Dubai. Various sessions throughout the day offered insights on how the tax function is being reimagined to keep pace with evolving regulations and the impact of digitalization.

Tax experts discussed how best to lead this function through a transformation to deliver better systems, information and performance in the future. Global, regional and local experts also debated the ways in which global trends in tax may impact the region, the future of the tax function, M&A, Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS), VAT and the impact of technology.

The agenda and the purpose of the conference and core issues to be both discussed and debated were set out by Head of MESA Tax and Managing Partner of KPMG Kuwait, Dr. Rasheed Al Qenae.

Jane McCormick, Global Head of Tax & Legal for KPMG International, said: “Tax professionals need to be thinking ahead given that the role of tax has gained prominence in the corporate and sovereign agenda, prompting companies to take responsibility of tax matters at the board level. They must therefore up-skill, embrace the dynamics of a new tax world and amend their operating structure.”

M&A deals continue to become common place in the business world – even more so in the MESA region – and an ever-growing driver of growth. Whether an acquisition, merger, disposition or restructuring, tax implications must be taken into consideration. The conference addressed recent regional tax developments and how such developments affected the perception of regional jurisdictions on the international tax arena.

Following the introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain, tax authorities are increasing enforcement efforts and focusing on compliance. Indirect tax specialists from the region shared their experiences with indirect tax audits, explaining the main challenges, and how organizations can prepare best to avoid negative surprises and penalties.

Zubair Patel during a breakout session
Zubair Patel during a breakout session

In the breakout session, Zubair Patel, Head of Tax & Corporate Services at KPMG in Kuwait led as moderator a panel discussion on recent tax challenges which have been on the rise globally with the MESA region being no exception however are we now seeing a paradigm shift? Is the very nature of the challenges coming through in recent time, a response to the implementation of the BEPS agenda and due to the tools available to the tax authorities? The experienced panelist from Europe and the MESA region shed some thought-provoking light on the matters ending the sessions with their recommendations.

To power growth through tax technology, sessions also focused on how tax technology can be operationalized to increase efficiencies throughout an organization. Spokespeople also demonstrated a range of technology offerings from single point solutions to fully ERP-integrated platforms that can be adapted to a tax function.

Dr. Rasheed, The Head of MESA Tax at KPMG, then closed the conference with key takeaways from the conference. There was a networking session at the end of the conference for the participants.

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