Michaela Merz

Top Women in Tax – please nominate your candidate until 15 December 2015

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20 years ago, at the time when VAT was introduced in Switzerland, men were not really interested in this field. There was too little prestige, too little to shine. The opinion of the tax community at that time was that VAT is hardly relevant for businesses as it is a transit tax and only causes pain to end consumers who have to pay the VAT. Its true for the majority of the companies that VAT is a transit tax IF EVERYTHING IS IMPLEMENTED CORRECTLY. And this is seldom the case because VAT is an operational tax with thousands of details to be done right. In case you do not get them ALL!! correct, VAT can be very costly for each and every company as VAT is applied on turnover independently of whether profit is generated or not.

In 1995 men were not interested and delegated VAT to the female accountants and tax advisers. I was one of them. Whenever I went to a seminar it was amazing to see that close to 90% of the participants were female. Men preferred M&A (mergers and acquisitions), corporate tax structuring or transfer pricing. However as cases started to arrive where companies were penalized by the Tax Authorities for wrong implementation of VAT and lost double digit million amounts simply because of wrong mapping, invoicing, decision trees in ERP, codings, contracts, missing or wrong documentation, VAT appeared on the agenda of boards of directors and management teams and started to be prestigious. One could feel it in VAT workshops where the number of male participants started to increase and females started to disappear until the relationship was the same as in all tax seminars . 90% men and 10% females.

All tax areas are still a men’s world. It changes very slowly.

Tax Analysts’ Top Women in Tax

Tax Analysts announced its inaugural Top Women in Tax award. Tax Analysts is looking to decorate the top women trailblazers in tax – women who had a significant impact on tax practice or tax policy and earned the respect of their colleagues in the tax profession. These women hold the highest tax positions in government, have set themselves apart as exceptional and inspiring educators, or have established themselves as forces to be reckoned with at some of the most distinguished tax firms across the country.

If you know a woman who deserves this honour, please nominate her HERE and filling out the nomination form by 15 December 2015.

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