London, November 26, 2012 – In 2013, insurers will face an unprecedented level of indirect tax changes in Europe, intensifying the challenge of maintaining tax compliance, according to insurance tax specialists FiscalReps.
Speaking on Friday to an audience of more than 100 insurance professionals at FiscalReps’ annual Indirect Tax Forum in London, founder and chief executive Mike Stalley said: “Since the start of the financial crisis we have been warning insurers that European governments would increase their focus on indirect taxation to fund budget shortfalls. Now the promised changes are upon us and in the coming year we will see significant insurance premium tax and parafiscal tax changes right across the continent.
“From January 1st onwards, a swathe of countries will raise indirect tax rates, introduce new taxes or revise laws to increase the size of the tax base. And with these changes comes clear evidence of a tightening up of tax revenue collection measures,” he added. “It is imperative for insurance businesses to keep pace with these developments to maintain tax compliance.”
Joseph Finbow, client manager at FiscalReps, brought delegates up to date with some of the changes in prospect: “The Netherlands and Finland will be first to push up IPT rates in the New Year. Meanwhile, Greece is increasing the rate of its Motor Guarantee Fund. Anticipated new taxes in 2013 include Denmark’s introduction of IPT in January to replace stamp duty on premiums, a possible flood levy in the UK and the potential introduction by Hungary of IPT to replace its Fire Brigade Tax. In addition, we are seeing countries like Germany, Spain and Iceland rewriting their tax legislation. This is a lot of change for insurers to contend with.
“However, these developments are not the end of the story – even more tax changes are likely in the months and years ahead, as cash-strapped governments go in search of fresh revenue sources,” Finbow continued. “Looking at Eastern Europe, for example, we have seen Slovenia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic introduce IPT; it therefore seems very probable that countries like Poland and the Baltic States may opt to launch similar measures.”
The Forum provided a range of opportunities for brokers, underwriters, tax managers and risk managers to stay current with evolving best practice in this challenging area. Delegates heard the insights of a panel of industry experts, who discussed the growing regulatory requirements within the industry and how businesses need to constantly adapt to sustain global compliance.
In addition, many delegates took the chance to attend up to three of seven smaller, break-out sessions at the event and to ask questions relating to their specific areas of business, including topics such as IPT, VAT, tax management for captives and maintaining a global tax database.
Attendees also had a chance to experience a demonstration of FiscalReps’ unique software applications: taxbox ®, taxDNA® and myFiscalReps.
Following the close of the main event and prior to a wine reception, a number of participants arranged a 10 minute, one-to-one appointment with a FiscalReps specialist from the company’s European and North American divisions at the event’s Tax Surgery. The Surgery saw attendees discuss specific indirect tax queries relating to the fields of European IPT, VAT, North American premium taxes and tax compliance for captives and risk managers.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
FiscalReps is an independent consultancy that helps insurance businesses to comply with insurance premium tax (IPT) and parafiscal taxes internationally. The company is the European market leader, with a client list that includes many top insurers, brokers and corporate captive owners. Further information is available at: www.fiscalreps.com.
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