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Till today, I have tried to give my views on the technical side of taxation and hope you have enjoyed. This time, I thought, it is important that the students of commerce, accountancy, finance, law and management understand what the studies in taxation have to offer to them that could give the young minds a direction in choosing their right career.
Let me begin my thoughts by a phrase that I remember from my student days. “Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.” – Herman Wouk; so in case you love to write a fiction, you are a one step closer to the profession. I have seen many tax professionals with poor written communication skills, which would make them more of a compliance or return filing professional but not a rounded tax professional. Tactful writing is key for any tax professional.
The reason why I started the article with the above sentence is that for being a tax specialist, in addition to the knowledge of the subject one needs special skills of elaboration and articulation of a topic. Taxes do not mean punching a number in a tax return form by copying it from financial statements and filing it with the tax department. If this is your definition of being a taxation specialist, this article could be for you.
Taxes as a subject and in terms of importance have changed over the period of time. Today’s taxes are all about doing the right thing and mitigating any possible risks. Gone are the days of finding loopholes and capitalising on the legal backing that the subject has to offer. It is a law which is today built on a principle of substance over form, which was lacking a few years back. Therefore, taxes is not just a technical theory but in short, if I can summarise it as a tax management and not tax law.
First, let us understand what the subject offers to you as a career choice:
- Immense potential: Taxation is one of the oldest profession, yet out of a few thousand Chartered Accountants and Lawyers, barely few manage to master the subject. This means, there is a tremendous scope in the taxation studies. Taxes are complex and they are not for everyone. If you are the one who loves intellectual challenges this might be the profession for you.
- Respect: In general people including corporations are concerned about their tax outflows/ management and if you specialise in taxes, you are that doctor who would help the economy by providing a right advice about their tax health. Most of the people would have no clue what you are doing therefore there would be known and unknown respect that you would automatically earn.
- Dynamism: You would find new issues every day which are then multiplied by the dynamism in the industry. No two solutions are the same in the world of tax. Even if the issue could be similar, everything has a factual distinguishment. The job is full of the dynamic situation and you would never feel monotonous or stagnated in this subject.
- Learn, Learn and Learn: The subject needs high levels of updation and upgradation as a professional. No one in the field of taxes can claim that he is a master of this subject. Everyone is the student and learns new things even at different points in his experience. This is the subject, if you are not in touch with the latest updates, you may become redundant.
Let us now understand the type of work that is generally involved in the taxation field. Broadly the categorisation of the work could be in three buckets
I. Advisory Services – This includes a resolution to a specific problem that is poised before the tax expert. This would also include the provision of a tax opinion to the various corporations and providing support on the local and global tax strategies.
II. Compliance – This bucket is devoted to the transparency and reporting of the tax dealings by a Company to its tax administrative authority. This could include tax returns, taxation audits, certifications and valuations.
III Representations and Appeals – The tax affairs of a corporation/ individual needs to be effectively represented before the taxation authorities when selected for scrutiny. Further, in the case of any tax adjustments, the taxpayer may prefer filing appeal at higher courts and tribunals, where your involvement would be significant. This would also involve certain proactive means of representation including advance rulings and advance pricing agreements.
Whether only a consultancy firm is where I can get hired?
The needs for a taxation expert is not only in the advisory firms but also corporates. The corporations would like to keep its tax cost under control and therefore appropriate risk mitigation strategies need to be implemented and managed by a learned professional. An internal taxation manager or director adds immense value to the corporation. Often taxation and legal are two main backbones of an organization. Any minor twists and turns in the functioning of these functions could have serious implications on the way the company functions.
How can you specialise in taxation:
There could be several courses available for taxation studies, including Chartered Accountancy, Law and Management; but the best way to study taxation is self-study through the respective laws. Of course, certain guidance is required and the same could be provided based on the level of a knowledge base of the candidate. Experience is the best teacher in the case of taxation studies.
Considering the above, taxation (both direct and indirect) could turn out to be one of a highly specialised and technical expertise field, which can shape you up as a thorough professional. In case you have any doubts, you may like to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org