Timothy Chuk's first major interest wasn't tax--it was architecture. He first developed an interest in tax while working for an organization that developed a different type of architecture--IBM. "Achieving business objectives in today's ever-evolving global landscape requires tax planning and foresight to strategically move the business forward," Chuk explains.
The BEPS Issue
Chuk, director of tax-Asia Pacific at Trinseo as well as vice president-Hong Kong for TEI, notes that most international tax practitioners are now paying a lot of attention to the development of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) practices, whereby corporations shift their profits from higher-taxing jurisdictions to lower-taxing ones. "BEPS has created a new dynamic when considering the status of developing and developed countries, which will have a direct impact on alignment of the revenue between the various taxing jurisdictions in which the multinationals have operations," he asserts.
A key challenge Chuk sees for governments across the world lies in finding the right balance of alignment of revenue to achieve the right revenue and development goals. Here's Chuk's take on a well-known aphorism and its implications for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: "'You can't teach an old dog new tricks. This old saying does not apply to current tax professionals. As tax professionals, we are all too familiar with the phrase 'we learn something new every day: There was a discussion among the TEI members regarding learning the tax rules from scratch given that the OECD has hinted that it will have to break with arm's-length principles to overcome the challenges of taxing the online economy."
The Trinseo Experience
Chuk works at Trinseo (a Dow Chemical spin-off), where he has experienced what it is like to go through an IPO. "As I moved from a big public company to a private-equity-owned firm, I positioned myself as an in-house specialist, uniquely qualified to lead tax transactions from Asia. I was able to leverage my business judgment and M&A experiences to represent the best interests of companies from within management ranks. I found this work to be extremely rewarding. It wasn't any longer about meeting the [effective tax rate] target and political power; it was about accomplishing objectives and completing transactions that were in the best interests of Trinseo," he says.
IBM and SunGard Experience
Chuk also learned valuable lessons while...