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I’m Montserrat Trape, I’m a tax partner in Spain. I specialize in transfer pricing, basically everything related to dispute resolution, and since one year ago, I’m also the head of the EMEA transfer pricing.
Well, if I have to summarize it in one word, I would say “changing.” Everything seems to be changing. I mean, changing so rapidly. This is the real challenge that we all have, and I would say it changes in transfer pricing rules, so new regulations come absolutely every single month that we need to keep up with. In Spain, we have had 54 modifications in the last year, big or small, but 54 changes. Portugal is exactly the same. Last week, in the newspapers, the highest change in personal tax is the highest rising in personal taxes, so keeping up with the momentum is really challenging.
Well, if anything, it means uncertainty. Uncertainty, the fact that you cannot plan ahead with absolute security. The fact that you need to be flexible. The fact that you need to be very, very near with what our politicians are really thinking or are really struggling with. This is really what it means.
The fact that their world is changing, that they need to manage uncertainty. But, it also means that they are looking at possibilities to be closer to tax authorities. To talk to them. To talk to the people that are making the policies, that are making the changes. When everything is quiet, everything is calm, everything is much more under control, possibly you don’t feel this need. At the moment, they come to us, and they really look for being the first ones of the news, because they need to take decisions based on those.
I would say that in the short term, it’s always wise not to make decisions in the hot spot. I mean, one has to really look at what is happening, take a step backwards, and really think of how to manage things, both in the short or in the medium term.
With the information we have, with environment we hear, try to anticipate what is happening. If we hear that VAT might be increasing, just take a step forward and see whether it is, what you would do under the circumstances that VAT rates might be increasing, because it might be happening. It’s very, very possible that it is happening. What one cannot do, is do nothing. So, anticipating. Being flexible. That will be our key messages. And also, be very, very close to tax authorities, trends, and to the tax, to the people that are really taking the decisions.
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