Coronavirus is altering priorities for company tax professionals

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing corporate tax departments to reconsider their top priorities for this year, according to a new survey.

Bloomberg Tax & Accounting surveyed a group of corporate tax professionals before and after the novel coronavirus disease outbreak in the US about staff, mandates, challenges and concerns. The survey found differences in the responses from 321 corporate tax professionals in mid-April compared to the 408 who responded in January.

Your main task now is to improve cash management by reducing costs and increasing efficiency in tax administration (55 percent versus 43 percent before COVID-19) and to lower cash tax payments and effective tax rates (49 percent versus 39 percent before COVID-19) – COVID-19).

The responses from tax professionals also showed a significant shift in the nature of the challenges they face. At the start of the year, almost half of respondents (45 percent) said that using or improving technology would be one of the biggest challenges their tax departments face in the coming year. However, the coronavirus has gotten involved in these plans, with tracking changes in tax law cited as the biggest challenge in the face of the pandemic.

Attitudes and staff were also disrupted by COVID-19. At the beginning of the year, 39 percent of corporate tax professionals surveyed said they plan to increase hires, but now only 9 percent say they will increase hires, with the majority (64 percent) planning to keep the status quo. There was also a significant increase from 4 percent earlier this year to 27 percent in April. Respondents said they plan to downsize this year.

“The priorities of corporate tax departments in early 2020 were inexorably changed due to COVID-19 as many companies that have invested in business growth strategies are now faced with the challenge of minimizing costs and maximizing savings,” said Lisa Fitzpatrick, President of Bloomberg Tax & Accounting made a statement Thursday. “Corporate tax leaders have shifted their focus from planning to taking control of the many changes brought about by changes to the federal tax law related to COVID-19 and the government’s handling of those changes – all due to limited resources and even challenged staff and budget . “