Nexia Ebner Stolz

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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