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Ebner Stolz Hosts Nexia at International Tax Conference 2017 in Cologne

In early June 2017 we got to­ge­ther in Co­lo­gne with our part­ners from the Ne­xia net­work to dis­cuss cross-bor­der tax is­sues. Ne­xia is not me­rely an as­so­cia­tion of tax con­sul­ting firms around the world. Ne­xia co­mes to life th­rough li­vely dis­cus­sions across bor­ders, th­rough the nu­me­rous suc­cess­ful con­sul­ting pro­jects in the past and in the pre­sent, as well as th­rough per­so­nal con­ta­cts.

From June 8, 2017 to June 10, 2017, working along with DHPG, we had the plea­sure of wel­com­ing nu­me­rous par­ti­ci­pants from Ne­xia firms to the 2017 Ne­xia In­ter­na­tio­nal Tax Con­fe­rence 2017 at Eb­ner Stolz in Co­lo­gne. We as­ked Mr. Franz Mel­ler, an au­di­tor and tax con­sul­tant who was one of the part­ners in charge of the event at Eb­ner Stolz in Co­lo­gne, to give us a sum­mary.

Ebner Stolz Hosts Nexia at International Tax Conference 2017 in Cologne© Thinkstock

Ne­xia vi­sits Ger­many. How many par­ti­ci­pants did you wel­come to Co­lo­gne? Which coun­try sent the most par­ti­ci­pants and where was the smal­lest for­eign de­le­ga­tion from?

We wel­comed 138 de­le­ga­tes from 31 coun­tries to Co­lo­gne. The lar­gest de­le­ga­tion came from Ger­many, which is cer­tainly at­tri­bu­ta­ble to the fact that the event was held in Co­lo­gne. There were also large de­le­ga­ti­ons from the United King­dom, the United Sta­tes, Swit­zer­land and France. The smal­lest for­eign de­le­ga­ti­ons, with one par­ti­ci­pant each, came from Fin­land, Hong Kong, Ja­pan, Me­xico and Malta.

Nexia International zu Gast bei Ebner Stolz in Köln

How is the ve­nue for the event cho­sen? Is it si­mi­lar to the Olym­pic Games or the World Cup?

As a rule, a city in which Ne­xia has a mem­ber firm is selec­ted as the ve­nue. It is im­port­ant for all con­ti­nents to take turns hos­ting the event. It is also im­port­ant for the ve­nue to be easy to get to since many par­ti­ci­pants come from far away. So the com­pa­ri­son with the Olym­pic Games or the World Cup is ex­actly right.

Where has the Ne­xia Tax Con­fe­rence been held in the past, and how has the at­ten­dance chan­ged?

The pre­vious Tax Con­fe­rence was held in Bos­ton, and the next one will be held in To­ronto in 2018. Over­all there has been a steady in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple at­ten­ding these con­fe­ren­ces: the at­ten­dance in Co­lo­gne was the hig­hest ever for an in­ter­na­tio­nal tax con­fe­rence. This shows us that the con­fe­ren­ces are gi­ving Ne­xia mem­bers what they need and want from an in­ter­na­tio­nal mee­ting.

Logo Nexia International

What sorts of ex­pec­ta­ti­ons does the or­ga­ni­zer of the Ne­xia Tax Con­fe­rence have of this event?

The or­ga­ni­zer (the In­ter­na­tio­nal Tax Com­mit­tee), which is made up of nine mem­bers, has two im­port­ant goals for the In­ter­na­tio­nal Tax Con­fe­rence. First, it of­fers an ideal op­por­tu­nity for pro­fes­sio­nal dis­cus­sions by in­ter­na­tio­nal tax ex­perts at the hig­hest le­vel. In­ter­na­tio­nal tax is­sues and struc­tu­ring are be­com­ing in­cre­asin­gly si­gni­fi­cant for our cli­ents. This me­ans that it is es­sen­tial for us to keep on top of tax-re­la­ted de­ve­lop­ments in other coun­tries, and that brings me to the se­cond point: the event al­lows us to get to know our fel­low Ne­xia mem­bers in per­son and dis­cuss tax is­sues with them. I be­lieve that hol­ding these per­so­nal dis­cus­sions and get­ting to know our Ne­xia part­ners are par­ti­cu­larly im­port­ant and even in­dis­pens­able for our own work in the field of in­ter­na­tio­nal ta­xa­tion. The In­ter­na­tio­nal Tax Con­fe­rence, which also in­clu­des ad­di­tio­nal mee­tings on spe­cial to­pics, of­fers the ideal plat­form for this.

Diskussionsrunde, Nexia zu Gast bei Ebner Stolz

In ad­di­tion to the coope­ra­tion with EMEA Tax Group, the Con­fe­rence is also about hot to­pics in cross-bor­der ta­xa­tion. These to­pics in­clu­ded: How do in­di­vi­dual coun­tries deal with pass-th­rough le­gal forms? What is the best way to struc­ture cross-bor­der ta­xa­tion of ar­tists and ath­le­tes? What de­ve­lop­ments are in the offing in the tax arena in the va­rious coun­tries? And in par­ti­cu­lar: what will be the tax con­se­quen­ces of Brexit and the Trump Ad­mi­nis­tra­tion in the United Sta­tes? What were your per­so­nal high­lights?

So many to­pics were dis­cus­sed that it's hard for me to choose a spe­cial high­light. The dis­cus­sions on pass-th­rough le­gal forms and the ex­tre­mely dif­fe­rent ways they are trea­ted in dif­fe­rent coun­tries were par­ti­cu­larly in­tense. The up­dates we re­cei­ved from the in­di­vi­dual mem­ber coun­tries will be ex­tre­mely hel­pful for our day-to-way work. I es­pe­cially li­ked the pre­sen­ta­tion by Dr. Stef­fen Neu­mann, the head of the Tax Di­vi­sion in the Fi­nance Mi­nis­try of North Rhine West­pha­lia, who spoke on cur­rent trends in tax law in North Rhine West­pha­lia and in Ger­many. Par­ti­ci­pants lear­ned first-hand what to ex­pect in tax law in Ger­many in the fu­ture. With all the com­plex to­pics, it is im­port­ant not to for­get the mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­nities for per­so­nal dis­cus­sions with other Ne­xia mem­bers. For ex­am­ple, we spent a plea­sant eve­ning at a Co­lo­gne bre­wery, where we trea­ted our guests to Co­lo­gne spe­cial­ties and a glass or two of the lo­cal Kölsch beer, so that they could get to know more about the cul­ture and way of life in Co­lo­gne.

In nu­me­rous in-depth mee­tings, the ex­perts dis­cus­sed to­pics such as real es­tate, trans­fer pri­cing, em­ployee re­lo­ca­tion and sa­les tax. Which to­pic does Eb­ner Stolz see as the fo­cal point of the coope­ra­tion?

The main to­pics have al­re­ady been men­tio­ned. In­ter­na­tio­nal trans­fer pri­cing, sa­les tax, in­ter­na­tio­nal ex­change of ser­vices, and glo­bal mo­bi­lity tax ser­vices are an in­te­gral part of our day-to-day life. I would also add the to­pic of in­ter­na­tio­nal tax struc­tu­ring, when it co­mes to set­ting up in­ter­na­tio­nal groups of com­pa­nies in a tax-op­ti­mi­zed man­ner. Eb­ner Stolz re­gu­larly holds pro­mi­nent po­si­ti­ons on the com­mit­tees, and there are also li­vely dis­cus­sions with in­ter­na­tio­nal part­ners out­side tax con­fe­ren­ces, such as on the to­pic of sa­les tax, on which we are hol­ding par­ti­cu­larly in­ten­sive dis­cus­sions; Ne­xia sa­les tax spe­cia­lists even par­ti­ci­pate in our in­ter­nal Eb­ner Stolz sa­les tax mee­tings.

What were the re­sults of the con­fe­rence? How will they spe­ci­fi­cally be­ne­fit our cli­ents?

It was im­port­ant for us to hear de­tai­led pre­sen­ta­ti­ons on how the key is­sues at the con­fe­rence are hand­led in other coun­tries. This is es­sen­tial for our in­ter­na­tio­nal tax con­sul­ting. The de­cisive fac­tor here is that the dis­cus­sions with our Ne­xia part­ners re­sult in con­crete re­com­men­da­ti­ons for struc­tu­ring in other coun­tries, which we can pass on to our cli­ents. For ex­am­ple, I per­so­nally dis­cus­sed a struc­tu­ring case in­vol­ving the or­ga­niza­tion of a part­nership in the United Sta­tes with our US part­ners, who pro­vi­ded me with va­luable struc­tu­ring in­for­ma­tion, that we will im­me­dia­tely im­ple­ment as we de­sign the struc­ture to be used. This en­su­res that our cli­ents re­ceive top-notch ad­vice, both in Ger­many and ab­road.

Rede Franz Meller, Ebner Stolz Köln

How would you sum up the Ne­xia Tax Con­fe­rence?

I can only say that it was a highly suc­cess­ful con­fe­rence. The num­ber of par­ti­ci­pants, the at­mo­sphere, per­so­nal dis­cus­sions and pro­fes­sio­nal pre­sen­ta­ti­ons de­fi­ni­tely met our ex­pec­ta­ti­ons. Above all we gathe­red all sorts of in­for­ma­tion that we can im­me­dia­tely use to as­sist our cli­ents. And last but not least, it was a lot of fun to host our Ne­xia col­lea­gues in Co­lo­gne.

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