SMU-TA CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE IN TAXATION INAUGURATES ITS FIRST CONFERENCE
Since its inception in August 2014, the SMU-TA Centre for Excellence in Taxation has worked tirelessly with industry practitioners, international academics and various key stakeholders to produce its first set of research works.
On September 17, the Centre successfully presented its inaugural conference titled “A New Equilibrium in Tax Competition and Global Tax Co-operation?”.
The conference was a unique forum for tax specialists, policymakers and academics to discuss key issues on international tax policies and trends with a particular focus on Asia.
International taxation and taxation of multinational corporations (MNCs) is a topic that continues to attract growing interest within the business community, specifically the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project which is spearheaded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Senior Minister of State Mrs Josephine Teo graced the event which was attended by over 150 participants from Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and other regional countries.
Speaking at the inaugural SMU-TA Centre for Excellence in Taxation conference this morning, Mrs Teo highlighted the sources of the current disequilibrium in tax competition and global tax cooperation, and articulated Singapore’s view on the BEPS Action Plan.
“A convergence towards higher taxes globally would be a poor outcome for the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project…The BEPS project should, instead, work towards convergence on free and fair competition in taxation,” she said.
The BEPS project aims to address global tax inequalities and reform the international taxation system. Scheduled to be completed in December 2015, the OECD initiative will have a huge impact on the way multinational corporations run their operations.
Director of the SMU-TA Centre for Excellence in Taxation, SMU Associate Professor Goh Beng Wee gave the conference participants an overview of the Centre’s endeavours.
“There has been limited tax research work done on Asia so far. With the rapid international tax developments in recent years, there are now more opportunities for researchers to analyse international tax policies, and look into the application of such policies from the legal and economic perspectives. To that end, the Centre will strive to encourage ideas and works that will guide and lead thinking on the relevance, development, application and impact of international tax rules and standards for Asia,” he said.
Associate Prof Goh added that the Centre was very privileged to receive guidance from a panel of international and leading tax experts including Professor Dr Jeffrey Owens (Director, Global Tax Policy Centre, Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law, Vienna University of Economics and Business) who was one of the conference’s keynote speakers.
The Centre’s researchers presented their findings on the BEPS recommendations in relation to Asian economies, new rules in taxing of intangibles, trends in limitation of benefits in Asian tax treaties, the inevitability of more tax reporting requirements and transparency issues rising from more information-sharing amongst governments as well as possible cases of tax disputes.
Conference participants also heard from a distinguished line-up of speakers and panellists. Among them were Professor Eric M Zolt, Michael H. Schill Distinguished Professor of Law at University of California-Los Angeles; Professor David Rosenbloom, Director of the International Tax Program at the New York University School of Law; Professor of Taxation Law Graeme Cooper, University of Sydney and Andy Baik, International Director, Asia Pacific Tax Centre – US Tax Desk, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP and a researcher of SMU-TA CET.
The panel of experts discussed many areas of interest including pro-growth tax systems in the region, tax research for tax competition, growth and development and designing effective tax incentives.