Business executives operating in an increasingly multi-national economic environment expect their tax practitioners and financial stewards to act with up-to-the-minute knowledge of international tax law and its implications. Also, the increasing complexity and accountability requirements demand that professionals proactively seek out the newest developments and resources to stay up-to-date in this rapidly changing field. For these reasons, the USD-PITI conference offered attendees the platform to learn the latest developments about the tax industry and ample networking opportunities to develop important connections that will benefit their careers in the future.
This intensive, two-day educational and networking event attracted internationally recognized leaders and experts in the field of International Tax Law, including Lic. Christian Natera (Natera et. al.), Lic. Mauricio Bravo Fortoul (Turanzas et. al.), Lic. Gabriel Ortiz (Ortiz et. al.), Lic. Juan Manuel Valle Perenia (Secretary Advisor SHCP), Dr. Alejandro Reynoso del Valle (BMV). International Tax experts from the United States included John Merrick (IRS), Ginny Chung (U.S. Treasury), Alan Astengo (IRS), Sanford Blaze (IRS) and Norman Scott (California Franchise Tax Board). These speakers, among others, discussed International Tax issues such as:
- General Aspects of Mexico's New Fiscal Tax Reform;
- U.S.-Mexican Complex Trust Taxation Considerations (Mexico´s new REFIPRE regime and new US tax regulations);
- Dissecting US, Canadian and Mexican Tax Case Law: Recent cases and comparative analysis;
- International Aspects of Mexico’s New Tax Reform: The tax nature of IETU and availability of Foreign Tax Credits;
- Taxing Cross Border Athletes and Entertainers: Central Withholding Agent Agreements, Loan Out Companies, Tax Treaty Exemptions;
- International Aspects of Mexico’s New Tax Reform: The consequences for the Capital Markets; and
- Cross Border Transfer of Intangibles: Migration from and to the US, Canada and Mexico.
Conference attendees also had the opportunity to hear this year’s keynote speakers: the Honorable David Laro, long-time judge for the U.S. Tax court and visiting professor at USD; Jack Anderson Esq., International Tax (Paris), E&Y; and Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, President of the Institute of the Americas.
Key sponsors from the U.S. for the 2008 Institute included: The Graduate Tax Program at the University of San Diego School of Law, Procopio, Vivant Solutions, LexisNexis, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, CBIZ and Comerica.
Supporting organizations from the U.S. included: The State Bar of California Taxation Section and the International Tax Committee, World Trade Executives, Tax Analysts, Latin Lawyer, BNA Tax & Accounting and CCH. Supporters from México included: Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), Promexico (Bancomext), Instituto de Especializacion Ejecutivos, Centro de Estudios Fiscales (CEFA), Asociación Nacional de Especialistas Fiscales (ANEFAC) and Dofiscal.
The conference tackled the question of whether the U.S. Treasury/IRS will treat the Mexican flat tax/IETU as a tax that is eligible for a foreign tax credit to U.S. investors and companies. U.S. Treasury lawyer Ginny Chung confirmed that the Treasury department will continue to study the Mexican IETU for several more years before they will be able to make a final determination of whether the IETU tax will definitively be a tax eligible for a foreign tax credit. This will be a sequel to IRS Notice 2008-3 which will be anxiously awaited by U.S. investors and companies who have business activities and investment in Mexico.
During the panel entitled Taxing Cross Border Athletes and Entertainers: Central Withholding Agent Agreements - Tax Treaty Exemptions, IRS tax lawyers discussed the federal tax program known as the Central Withholding Agreement ("CWA") that the IRS is aggressively uses to pursue and levy U.S. withholding taxes on Mexican and Canadian artists and athletes who perform in the U.S.
IRS Attorney John Merrick discussed various U.S. tax treatments of cross-border structured investments on the panel discussion Cross Border Tax Planning Strategies for Real Estate: How to Structure Private and Public Real Estate Holdings. He confirmed the ability of U.S. investment funds to be eligible for a reduced U.S. tax rate of 15% on qualified dividends structured from Mexican business trusts and Mexican companies that operate a real estate joint venture development in Mexico.
Finally, various panelists and tax law experts (from private practice and the government) confirmed the trend that taxpayers, business, individuals and tax returns that are filed are increasingly becoming more and more international in nature due to the expanding worldwide business environment. Economic globalization within NAFTA has brought with it the need for businesses to be aware of international tax laws and tax burdens that span the NAFTA countries.