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Why does international tax think they are better than everyone else? Is it just the teams I’ve had to work and communicate with or is this the norm?

likefunny
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I am from international tax team….. ITS team generally run a lot big accounts and client always want talk to ITS people about tax reform and Biden tax reform issues. Client reach out to ITS for planning ideas and questions. Typically for F500 companies they pay EY more money on international tax stuff than federal and state. In most case 70% revenue allocate to ITS and the rest go to Fed and State. Given the never stopped tax reform in recent years and a lot of regulation and tax compliance form changes every year, the ITS scope is expanding every year. Also the margin of ITS work is much higher in general. However, as an ITS person, I don’t think this make ITS different than other team because at the end, we just an employee and doing our job to pay bills.

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International tax is insanely complex and you have to know and be able to explain to clients Sub C, the International IRC sections and foreign laws. So I think from a technical standpoint it is the hardest to grasp mentally. Add in that the teams are comprised of a ton of lawyers who are paid more and older than the people they start with and you create a formula for pretentious people.

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It's because no one ever talks to them except for when their specific skillset is needed. This creates the illusion that they are smarter than everyone else when in reality, tapping an international tax team is really no different than someone calling a plumber. Not really useful except for that very specific task.

likefunny

International tax = plumber? That is… fine, depends on the context anyway. If I may torture the analogy… some firms do a lot of work in Super Mario World, so plumbers are very important. At other firms, you may be about as useful as a guy in overalls trying to catch Pokémon with fireballs. I know this post is a week old but I couldn’t resist. 🙃

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The ones who have this complex in my experience are often attorneys. I try to remind myself the reason they are in big 4 is because they failed to get into big law.

likefunnysmart

Same benefits and pay lol. Someone lied to you @EY 3

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As an M&A Tax practitioner, one other aspect of this (that also applies to international) is that we get a lot of calls from people who waited too long to call for help and are looking to us to bail them out at the eleventh hour. Those are the same people who don’t want to give us a billable code and who want to negotiate our fees down before we talk to the client. I know that a 382 study will cost $300k, but someone already told their client that it would be $75, so I have to step in and explain why the number changed without calling my colleague an idiot. This happens a LOT.

likesmart

💯 this is my experience 99% of the time

We are better than everyone else

likefunny

They do until m&a walks in

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No offense, but FDD is silly 😝

smart

Gosh, so much posturing already just in this thread from all sides. I’m in international tax, but would hate to work with you all haha.

likefunny

EY2 - In all honesty, we couldn't get the job done without you. Division of labor and specialization is key to delivering world-class yet multi-faceted client service.

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... well, looks like your ITS colleagues haven't met their M&A tax colleagues yet... :)

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I was in ITS and left. My guess is that they generally work only with large clients, the work is very complex and abstract, and they tend to hire very highly educated people such as LLMs. There are definitely a lot of very smart people in ITS. Personally I found the concepts so abstract that I was feeling bored or disengaged, but that is just my experience.

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Attorney LLM here, sometimes we don’t understand .. we’re also confused 😂

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There are quite a few in international who think highly of themselves. To be fair, International is sub c/k with international on top, so it can be pretty complex. I’m not in international by the way.

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Biggest headaches originate in international tax, and it’s not always intuitively understood by clients.

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Try “never” understood by the client

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Loaded question. International tax is complex and in my experience it requires a lot more research and planning than the other general service lines. There’s also a good amount of lawyers within international tax and that requires additional school, etc. So when you are coming up with plans that saves your clients millions a year plus are a licensed attorney and then have a call with a general team who doesn’t know the facts and isn’t prepared then you probably do get some attitude. But I’ve seen good general teams as well, so not necessarily true all the time.

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I have had limited interactions with the itax group at my firm, but all of my experiences have been positive. Down-to-earth, kind people. I work in partnership tax

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It’s the lawyers 100%... too bad they won’t be laughing when they realize quantitative work will take over most of the ITS work soon

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If you don’t think planning involves quant modeling, then you all are seriously misguided. I’m not in a “quant group.” I’m in international tax and I do 75% planning work where I sell ideas to clients by quantifying the cash tax or ETR benefit of the plan. It’s not about just knowing the technology to wrangle the data; it’s about knowing the tax technical and the technology.

Many international tax experts are nothing but walking/talking Rolodex, and transfer pricing work is generally performed by economists, not tax professionals. Don’t believe the hype.

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Hate to tell you, but no one that just does their job in tax (any group) is special. It all has complexities in their own way. You can take anyone with average aptitude and train them to do any tax job. The real outliers are those that can add the most value to the client at the lowest cost to your group. That means different things in different groups.

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It's really because International tax is just mostly attorneys. This is the common amongst attorneys. It starts in law schools in my opinion. You have super competitive people who are willing to do anything to get an edge.

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Lol I’m an attorney in International tax. I will say that I’m a pretty social guy, but I tend to have a little more blue collar sense of humor. I didn’t like the majority of people in law school; they seemed completely unaware that their shot does in fact stink

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Because we are

likefunny

I didn’t realize I was in such a controversial group 😂😂

likefunny

😂😂😂 it’s too funny.

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You get paid more when you are dealing with tougher technical issues and services are more valued by a client (higher margin). That’s why specialty groups all make more than BTS on a average across the board at B4.

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It happens everywhere.

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