For years, the role of the corporate treasurer has been evolving, as multinational companies have faced increasingly complex challenges—born out of the need to generate growth and increase profits in an environment of significant market volatility and uncertainty. Increasingly, treasurers are being called upon to take a more strategic role in their organization and to manage increasingly complex risks in order to sharpen their company's competitive edge. Part of this strategic mandate involves keeping on top of the rapidly evolving corporate tax environment.

Tax is a crucial risk for multinationals, made even more significant by the prospect of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative leading to changes in tax rules in jurisdictions around the world. The BEPS proposal represents a comprehensive package of tax recommendations that was recently endorsed by G-20 finance ministers. It maps out 15 actions, including minimum standards on country-by-country reporting designed to give governments a global picture of multinationals' operations and revised guidance on transfer pricing.

The goal of the BEPS initiative is to fundamentally transform the corporate tax landscape, increasing transparency and curbing tax avoidance by multinational enterprises. The reality is that BEPS-related legislation may have a significant effect on every company that engages in cross-border operations. The initiative is particularly likely to impact any business that engages in cross-border cash pooling and/or intercompany loans, or that runs an in-house bank serving corporate groups in more than one tax jurisdiction.

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