A business tax career has never been as exciting as it is today. Internet tools increase opportunities for communication and collaboration across geographical borders; small businesses launch and, with the help of e-commerce stores, find themselves catering to a global customer base. This shifting business climate has also given rise to demand for specialized professionals in areas like international taxation. Tax laws can vary greatly from country to country, and busy entrepreneurs often have neither the time nor the training to juggle the complex demands of doing business while correctly interpreting tax law. As a result, there’s a growing need for international taxation professionals.
Acquiring the Right Education
If you have a bright, inquisitive mind and a natural affinity for numbers, you may find yourself considering a career in taxation. For travel lovers, a career in international taxation may sound like it offers the best of both worlds: a chance to travel while doing what you love. But first, select the right degree plan to build a strong foundation for the long-term career of your dreams. These steps can ensure you have access to the full range of career options in international taxation.
- Earn your undergraduate college degree in business with a concentration in finance or accounting.
- Maximize your career potential by graduating with your LL.M. (Master of Laws) in taxation.
Developing Critical International Taxation Career Skills
In addition to the proper educational background, you will need to develop certain skills that can help you succeed in your career once you’ve finished graduate school.
- Additional languages. As an international taxation professional, you have the opportunity to travel to help broker international business deals. Learning a second or even third language can expand your career options and your chances of long-term career success.
- Cultural communications. Negotiation tactics can vary as much as tax laws from country to country. The more you can learn — by study and immersion — of communications, conflict resolution and negotiation strategies in countries where you have a special interest, the more successful your career will be.
- Supranational laws and tax treaties. Globally, the United Nations and International Court of Justice administer tax law by international treaty for groups of nations. Nationally, bodies like the European Union function similarly. Developing a working knowledge of how these tribunals operate will be imperative to building a successful international tax career.
A Day in the Life of an International Taxation Professional
As an international tax professional, you will encounter different challenges on any given day. You can choose the degree of specialization you pursue during your career, and this will influence your career trajectory. In general, regardless of whether you become a specialist or a generalist, you can expect to see these “variations on a theme” crop up repeatedly throughout your career.
- Continual research into changing international tax laws, regulations, treaties and legislation
- Analysis of and recommendation for international supply chain and pricing strategy
- Evaluation of international financing options
- Development of proposed tax structures for international clients
- Market opportunities and entrepreneurship in global markets
- Maintenance of important relationships with various international tax authorities and entities
Exciting Career Options
As the market continues to globalize, your career opportunities in international taxation will continue to expand likewise. You may begin your career working for an established international taxation firm, launch your own consulting firm as an entrepreneur, partner with complementary professionals or even use your foundation in international taxation to start an international corporation. The following are some exciting career options in international taxation you can consider.
- Becoming a tax advisor to a group of clients who work exclusively in certain markets
- Becoming a speaker, author, professor or trainer for conferences, journals/magazines, private clients or in academia
- Specializing in tax-effective business practices (such as supply-chain management or pricing models)
With the right educational foundation, appropriate skills and a clear vision of your career goals, you can join the ranks of one of the most elite groups of finance professionals — international taxation experts.
About the Author: Blogger Carolyn Day graduated with her LL.M. degree five years ago. She works in international taxation.