Most businesses are only too happy to have never faced a taxman. However, unless they have good tax professionals advising them, the taxman can be difficult to avoid. So, tax professionals are needed by companies to keep their affairs in order.
As companies increasingly expand their businesses beyond national boundaries, a host of legal and cross-border taxation issues have come to the fore.
The demand for tax professionals, especially with expertise in international laws, has thus risen substantially over the last 4 years. Some estimates say taxation-related work is a Rs 3,000-crore industry and has been growing 30-40 per cent annually over the last four years.
Vikas Vasal, executive director, tax and regulatory services, KPMG, says: Consultancy in tax services is quite big and is growing fast. It is difficult to estimate the exact size, as other than large consulting firms, there are a number of small- and mid-sized firms that provide these services.
In large consulting firms, the starting salary for a candidate with a degree in tax management and planning could be around Rs 5 lakh per annum, while fresh graduates could get around Rs 2.5 lakh. Large organisations also offer incentives like international deputations and opportunities to enhance learning and skills in different fields, explains Vasal.
The work areas for a tax professional includes global direct and indirect tax compliance issues, managing tax risks in mergers and acquisitions to ensure that cash flows are optimised, transfer pricing compliance in areas such as intercompany pricing arrangements between related business entities (including transfers of intellectual property).
KPMG, Ernst & Young, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Deloitte and other law firms recruit almost 60 per cent of tax professionals. KPMG India hired 800 tax professionals this year and the recruitment is still on. Recently, Mumbai-based Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research announced a tie-up with KPMG to offer a six-month programme in tax and regulatory management.
However, the response was poor to a course offered by Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in 2007-08, according to an official. The institute might restart the programme if there are enough takers for it next y