The global economic crisis has made tax compliance, always complicated, even more of a challenge–especially when it comes to calculating transaction taxes. Rapidly changing and ever more confusing international laws can baffle even the experts, notes Stephen James, a principal and accountant with Dallas tax service firm Ryan & Co.

On top of that, Ryan and other tax authorities expect local, state and national tax agencies to step up audits to bring in more revenue to compensate for anticipated shortfalls. "Tax revenues were failing to match expectations even before the current crisis took hold," says James. "The end result is inevitable: more frequent, more obtrusive and more sophisticated tax audits."

Corporations are concerned. Eighty-eight percent of the of the 150 global 2000 tax leaders recently surveyed by Sabrix Inc. expect more audits in the face of anticipated shortfalls. Slightly more than 60 percent believe the current crisis ups the stress ante when it comes to meeting indirect, or transaction, sales, use and value added tax (VAT) requirements.

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