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The age of controversy

Global trends in tax controversy

Deloitte recently asked International Tax Review (ITR) to conduct research to assess how businesses are responding to rising tax controversy. The result: A greater understanding of the most frequent areas for controversy, how companies formulate responses and what drives their decision-making.

Globally, several forces are at work that complicate and increase the time needed to manage tax affairs: Legislators are adding new layers to national and international tax codes; revenue agencies are challenging tax filings by large and fast-growing businesses and are more willing to co-operate across borders; and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns have the public and shareholders demanding transparency and accountability. 

In response to this controversy landscape, many companies have expanded their internal resources, appointing specialist managers at a senior grade with direct responsibility for controversy management, and making tax departments an integrated part of the strategic risk management function. 

But what does good practice look like for these new heads of controversy? To assess how businesses are responding to rising tax controversy, Deloitte asked International Tax Review (ITR) to survey more than 300 companies across all major sectors, with annual revenues from under $500 million o above $5 billion. Just over half are listed, while C-suite comprised the biggest group of respondents, mostly from tax, finance and legal departments. 

We also wanted to understand how regional differences affect corporate tax policy, so the survey is split evenly between companies headquartered in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa.  

For further insight into regional and sectoral variation, we conducted in-depth interviews with key tax decision-makers across the corporate world. Our goal is to illuminate the most frequent areas for controversy, how companies formulate responses and what drives their decision-making.


Visit the microsite or download the PDF for the full results. Key highlights include:   

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