United States

Lisa Pinchin, OECD advisor on BEPS project, returns to RSM

INSIGHT ARTICLE  | 

After a 14-month absence, Lisa Pinchin returned to RSM from Paris where she served as advisor to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD ) on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project. Lisa is a senior manager in our international tax practice and is based in Boston. The following is a Q&A with Lisa regarding her new role as the BEPS Initiative lead for RSM US.

Q: What was the goal of the BEPS project?

The BEPS project aimed to provide governments with ways to close perceived gaps in existing international tax rules that might in some instances allow corporate profits to be reduced or to be shifted artificially to low- or no-tax jurisdictions in which little or no economic activity takes place. In Oct. 2015 the OECD presented the final package of measures on 15 Action Items, for a comprehensive and coordinated reform of international tax rules.

Q: Who was involved in the BEPS project?  

The OECD and the “G20 countries” (key industrialized and developing countries) developed the project on an equal footing. Specifically, the project involved input from more than 80 nations, including OECD members and G20 countries, and more than 40 developing countries. The OECD facilitated the internationally coordinated approach in an effort to avoid unilateral actions that could result in double or multiple taxation for business.

Q: Can you describe your role during your time there?

As an advisor on the BEPS project, I worked in the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration on the BEPS Project Coordination Team. This team ensured coordination and coherence between the OECD units and working parties responsible for carrying out work on the various 15 BEPS Action Items. My work also focused on Action Item 5 ‘Countering Harmful Tax Practices More Effectively, Taking in Account Transparency and Substance’ which deals with concerns that preferential regimes can be used for artificial profit shifting and the lack of transparency in connection with certain rulings.

Q: On what should U.S. companies focus when preparing for BEPS in 2016?

While the BEPS recommendations were made in 2015, particular countries have only just begun to adopt the proposals. Preparation is key for U.S. companies to navigate country changes throughout the world and further developments out of the OECD, as several substantive items are still to be completed. Some countries are moving quickly so it is vital for businesses to know what is happening in each jurisdiction in which they operate. It is important for companies to take a look at their global operational and tax footprints, engage in strategic planning in order to be flexible enough to adapt to specific BEPS driven changes and evaluate current systems in light of preparedness for compliance obligation changes.

Q: How do you plan to use the knowledge gained while with the OECD now that you are back working with clients at RSM?

First-hand experience advising to the BEPS project will certainly be invaluable as I help my clients plan for and navigate the changing landscape of international tax that lies ahead. As leader of the BEPS initiative for the U.S firm, I will work with RSM international tax teams on BEPS analysis to help prepare our clients for the upcoming tax law changes and enhanced reporting. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?   

The international tax changes resulting from the BEPS project present some of the biggest business challenges in recent history, with far-reaching impact on international operations. Businesses would be well advised to consider potential changes now, even in advance of specific implementation of national tax legislation.

RSM is pleased to welcome Lisa back to the U.S. where she will continue to advise clients on international tax issues, with a specific focus on BEPS.

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