Agnieszka Samoc.

PositionDanaher Corp. vice president and tax counsel

Agnieszka (Ag) Samoc likes puzzles. And for Samoc, practicing tax is a lot like solving puzzles. Her education gave her the requisite tools, such as legal analysis methods and quantitative abilities through accounting, that enabled her to solve tax puzzles effectively.

And then, right when I was graduating college in Australia," she explains, "there was a new tax system being put in place in Australia called the goods and services tax,' which was a wholly new way of charging indirect taxation against goods and services and which government authority (in this case, federal) was collecting the receipts, instead of state."

In addition, she says, this system had a pre-implementation education period during which the new rules and regulations created by authorities had to be translated into English for customers and businesses that had never been subject to any sort of value-added tax.

"The effective date for the GST I still recall was July 1, 2000," she notes. "I started my career immediately before--in February 2000--and my first task was to become an expert in something new and teach it to others. That was a great start to my career, because it leveled the playing field between complete newbies like myself and twenty-plus-year partners in the Big 4, which at that time was the Big 5, who had to read and absorb the same materials.

"We even had a hotline for customers to call to be better informed on how exactly is this going to work," she says. "Around this same time, I ended up relocating to the US. This was an opportunity to reassess if tax was the right field for me. My personal strong interest has always been international financial transactions and seeing how cross-border capital investment can help emerging economies grow and flourish."

In addition, she says, there are many ways to approach this field, and after some soul searching she found that tax analysis can significantly affect those decisions. "I therefore dedicated myself to becoming an expert in the US international tax rules, took the additional step of obtaining additional education in this field by completing an LLM at Georgetown in 2006, and sought to be an important cog in the wheel of international investment by supporting M&A deals from a tax perspective," she explains.

The EY Experience

Samoc, now vice president, tax counsel, at Danaher Corporation, had a previous stint at Ernst & Young (EY), which she says was a terrific place to learn to work in teams. "The store of...

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