Preparing for a career in corporate tax

To borrow a phrase from Zoolander, corporate tax is “so hot right now”. With the tax minimisation arrangements of the big end of town in the spotlight and change in the wind, there's never been a better time to conquer this area of the taxation industry. Here are some tips for those interested in doing so.

Get the right qualifications

Needless to say, an organisation facing a tax bill in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars isn’t going to hire any old suburban accountant to take care of their books. The right tax-training course can set you up with the know-how you'll need and ensure you stand out from the graduate crowd. Aside from all the other facets it covers, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law at The Tax Institute includes a subject that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of how public companies, private companies and corporate groups are taxed in Australia.

Line up an internship

Getting your foot in the door is often half the battle when it comes to a career in corporate tax. While the big firms like KPMG and PwC offer well-regarded internship programs, it's also worth looking at the Australian Taxation Office and the finance internships offered by many of the nation's largest companies, such as Telstra and Google.

Know how to network

What you know is undeniably important in the field of corporate tax law, but so is who you know. It’s wise to establish relationships with people working in the industry well before putting the hard word on them for an internship or graduate position. You can do this by asking individuals if they’d be willing to meet you for coffee, joining LinkedIn groups and attending industry events, of which The Tax Institute has a great list.

Do your research

You don’t want to be left speechless when a potential employer starts quizzing you on your thoughts about the pros and cons of a “Google tax” or be caught searching the buffet for that “double Irish Dutch sandwich” you overheard someone talking about. Ernst & Young has a handy summary of corporate tax regimes around the globe, including Australia, while the federal government recently launched a campaign dubbed Re:think to spruik its vision for the future of corporate tax. It makes for useful reading along with some other useful background information.

If you’re willing to put in the effort – both before and after being offered a position ­– you can enjoy an interesting and well-salaried career in the field of corporate tax.

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