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Corporate Tax Executives Brace for More Disclosure on Global Liabilities

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
May 17, 2023


As investors and regulators demand more disclosure about corporate tax liabilities, corporate tax executives fret about the implications of more disclosures, The Wall Street Journal reported. Chief among them are the costs of collecting the necessary details and how they will be understood by investors and regulators.

The concerns were aired at the Tax Council Policy Institute’s conference in Washington last week.

“There are a lot of people out there saying what should happen, and we’re trying to coordinate all of it because any time you put information out publicly, you need to make sure it ties to your financial statements and you can support the numbers,” Mark Volpe, senior vice president of tax at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, told the Journal. “We’re just trying to really understand it so we don’t … make a mistake.” 

Jurisdictions around the world are considering instituting more transparent reporting requirements. They include the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which issued a proposal for financial transparency in March, and the European Union, whose 2021 requirement for country-by-country reporting may go into effect for the 2025 reporting period. Australia is also considering similar legislation.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched country-by-country reporting years ago just for tax authorities, but that may change, too. “I think over the next couple of years, more information is going to be publicly disclosed,” said Volpe.

Shareholders at companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and will vote this month on proposals to provide more public tax disclosures than are currently required for U.S. companies, the Journal reported.

Tadd Fowler, senior vice president, treasurer and head of global tax operations at Procter & Gamble, said at the conference that investors want to assess companies’ behavior and the risks of potential tax legislation where they operate, but the challenges of meeting that demand entails “quite a bit of investment.”

Intel Chief Tax Officer Sharon Heck told the conference attendees that determining total tax contribution is an arduous task. She said that providing the figure for internal use took 16 different systems and several months. “It is not the push of a button at all,” she said. 

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