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Future of tax: the transformation of a core business function

Disruptive technologies, unprecedented transparency and robotics are rapidly changing the way businesses manage tax. Watch our videos for a glimpse of the future of tax.

Disruptive technologies and unprecedented global transparency are helping to accelerate changes in the way businesses manage tax. In almost every way, the tax function of tomorrow will look very different than it does today.

Having an informed view of tomorrow is vital. Here, EY professionals discuss the future of tax and what it means for companies now.

Tax function of future to prioritize cost, value and risk

Tax functions, coping with rapid regulatory and legislative change and pressure to do more with less, have to transform themselves. This means deciding how to prioritize cost, value and risk when it comes time to invest in talent and technology to operate optimally in the future.

Watch our tax leaders David Helmer, Chee Weng Lee and Olivia McTavish discuss how businesses will build tax functions for the future.

Can thinking big keep your tax controversy small?

Tax controversy has seen a global surge in volume and intensity. Governments are collecting more information than ever before and are using enhanced data analysis to identify and act on tax issues. Governments are also sharing this information at a record-setting pace. This increased interconnectivity means that tax controversy in one country can now quickly spread and intensify.

Watch our tax leaders Rob Hanson, Jeffrey Michalak and Calafia Franco discuss what this means for companies today and for the future of tax.

What if a job for life becomes a job for a day?

Technology has fundamentally altered the nature of how we work and has created a fast-accelerating gig economy —one that relies on freelance or contract workers. By the year 2020 alone, almost one in five workers will be a contingent worker and it is expected that 50% of the workforce will be contingent workers by the year 2030.

This shift can greatly complicate tax issues for both countries and companies. Watch EY’s Tony Steadman and Mike Bertolino talk about the impact of the gig economy on the future of tax.

Digital tax administration — corporate income tax

Tax authorities around the world are using sophisticated digital platforms that require taxpayers to submit data in real time or near-real time. This is changing the way businesses collect, format and report tax information, and it accelerates their reporting and filing obligations.

Watch EY’s Jon Dobell from Sydney, Siew Moon Sim from Singapore and Luise Beltran Farias from Mexico City explain how businesses are increasing using their own technology to comply with new demands and discover analytic capabilities that spot trends, problems and cost-saving opportunities faster.

Digital tax administration — indirect taxes

From invoicing to tax returns, the technological demands by indirect tax authorities are increasing.

Businesses are catching up and discovering how they, too, can use digital tools to improve processes and improve the bottom line by taking steps including working to better collect value-added tax and goods and services tax refunds they are owed.

EY’s Sergio Fontenelle Marques in Brazil and Gwenaëlle Bernier in France explain how these tools can help businesses even as they struggle to comply with a wide variety of data formats required across jurisdictions.

They also look at the impact of the Standard Audit File — Tax (SAF-T) urged by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Disrupting the value chain

Digital disruption is permanently changing value chains, and businesses are wrestling with the tax implications of those changes. Consider: how much profit from a transaction that uses artificial intelligence can be attributed to an algorithm versus a person?

If a product that once was shipped across borders can now be printed instead, where is the tax due?

EY’s Nick Muhlemann and Edvard O. Rinck in Singapore examine how tax rules are struggling to keep up with technological progress, which creates questions and challenges for leading businesses.


Blockchain may be best known today as the technology that underpins the digital currency bitcoin, but it can also be used for a host of other purposes that involve transmitting data securely.

“Blockchain technology represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet,” says Alex Tapscott, CEO of consultancy Northwest Passage Ventures and co-author of the book Blockchain Revolution.

Blockchain is set to transform financial transactions and reporting and, in turn, tax as well. Watch EY’s Michael Meisler and Rod Roman talk about the role that blockchain may play in the future of tax.

Data analytics

Sophisticated but business-friendly analytic tools now allow tax departments to leverage data to manage risks, control costs, identify opportunities and enhance business decisions. At the same time, increasing numbers of tax authorities are using data analytics to mine even more data to help increase tax collections and target compliance initiatives.

In the not-distant future, the deployment of even more powerful data analytics tools will be a mandate for companies, not an option. EY’s Daren Campbell and Carolyn Bailey explain why.

Robotic process automation

Tax compliance work has long involved the manual extraction of data from financial records. Today, robots have arrived on the scene. Software robotics, or “bots,” can automate manual, repetitive, rule-based tasks, freeing tax department professionals to do higher-value activities.

But that’s just the beginning. Watch EY’s Sharda Cherwoo and Hadley Leach describe how robotics fit into the future of tax.



EY’s Connected Tax spotlights the rise of the tax function as a strategic boardroom partner. We help you link the broader organization and its stakeholders, tax authorities, and the data and information that are transforming business models. Learn more at www.ey.com/connectedtax.


Michael Bertolino
EY Global People Advisory Services Leader
+44 2079 800 558


Rob Hanson
EY Global Tax Controversy Leader
+1 202 327 5696


Jeffrey Michalak
EY Global International Tax Services Leader
+1 313 628 8460


David Helmer
EY Global tax and Finance Operate Leader
+1 202 327 8355


Channing Flynn

International Tax Partner and Global Technology Sector Leader – Tax




Sergio Fontenelle, Sao Paulo

Indirect Tax Practice Leader for South America


+5511 2573 3169


Carolyn Bailey, Houston

Americas Digital Tax Administration Leader


+1 713 750 8652


Siew Moon Sim, Singapore

Ernst & Young Solutions LLP


+65 6309 8807


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