BKR International Worldwide Bulletin
March/April 2021
Letter from the Worldwide Chair
Whilst I am sure the year ahead will still be challenging, the advent of the vaccine offers a light at the end of the tunnel and a return to normality. Whatever form that normality takes in the future, it will not be the same as in the past, and BKR International will assist members in taking their business forward during these challenging times. It has been good to hear from a lot of members whom I and the BKR team have talked to, that the past year, despite the many challenges, has been more positive than many would have forecast a year ago. Indeed, some firms have had an excellent year.

I am delighted to welcome Legal Accounting Services S.R.L. in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, as our latest member in the Americas Region. They were incorporated in 2014 and provide the following service lines: consulting services, business advice, legal assistance and advice, accounting and auditing services, research, training and technical assistance, and export import. I am sure members will make them welcome, and I look forward to getting to know them in the future.

I would also like to welcome our newest staff member to the BKR International team in New York, Jeanine Kelly, who takes over as our new Manager, Meetings and Programs. I am sure you will get to know Jeanine well as you meet her at meetings in the future. Again, please do make her feel welcome at BKR International.

Over the next months, I have asked our CEO, Tim Morris, to organize an opportunity to speak to the members of each region. We will arrange to have a remote meeting set up by the regional executive directors, where we can brief members on how we are taking BKR forward and give members a chance to ask us questions. More on this shortly.

In the last issue of the Worldwide Bulletin, I highlighted the upcoming meetings. For obvious reasons, it has been decided that the regional meetings will now all be held remotely, and the relevant executive directors will update members of their plans to hold their annual general meetings, business sessions, and hopefully some social activities via the Internet. This is unfortunate, but the reality of the crisis and the safety of our members has been paramount when making this decision.

Looking ahead, the planning for October’s meeting (from October 29 - November 2) in Washington, D.C. is still ongoing. At this stage, we are certainly looking at the feasibility of having a hybrid meeting, with content both streamed and recorded, for use by members who cannot make it in person.

Finally, if you have anything you want to ask me or our CEO, Tim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Graeme Boake
BKR Welcomes New Member Firm in Bolivia
Legal Accounting Services S.R.L. (Santa Cruz)
BKR International is pleased to announce the acceptance of Legal Accounting Services S.R.L. (LAS)(Santa Cruz, Bolivia) into membership.

The firm was founded in January 2014. Their highly professional team provides accounting, tax, labor, legal, auditing, outsourcing, and consulting services, specializing in risk management and assurance. LAS also has industry experience in banking and financial services, insurance, oil and gas, retail and industry, and technology.

2021 Joint Asia-Pacific and EMEA Regional Meeting Update
The continued uncertainty during the global pandemic has led the EMEA and Asia-Pacific Regional Boards to reluctantly change the 2021 Joint Asia-Pacific and EMEA Regional Meeting planned for Athens into two separate regional virtual events.  
 
The EMEA event will take place on Monday, June 7. It is hoped that the virtual format will allow more members to take part.  The event will see the AGM held in the morning, followed by presentations afterwards.  It is hoped to end with some form of social function. Information on the Asia-Pacific event will follow shortly.

More details on both events will be available soon.
2021 Americas Regional Meeting Update
The 2021 Americas Regional Meeting has also been moved to a virtual format due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, global uncertainty of vaccination distribution, and more. BKR will host the virtual meeting from June 28-29.

Please stay tuned for more information and registration updates as we approach the meeting dates. 
BKR Member Firms Continue Tradition of Collaboration
From January 5-9, Lindquist, von Husen and Joyce LLP (LvHJ) (San Francisco) conducted virtual refresher training for financial audits on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) for the audit team of Alas, Oplas & Co., CPAs (Manila).

A few days later, from January 12-16, the LvHJ tax team conducted refresher training on US Tax Form 1065 to the tax team of Alas, Oplas & Co.

Prior to the pandemic, both the audit and tax teams of LvHJ visited Manila every January to conduct in-person training.

This offshore outsourcing began in 2018, and both firms have been very pleased with the collaboration.
BKR Member Firms Win ClearlyRated's 2021 Best of Accounting Award for Service Excellence
Nisivoccia LLP (Mt. Arlington) and Hall, Kistler & Company LLP (Canton) announced that they have won the Best of Accounting Award for providing superior service to their clients. ClearlyRated's Best of Accounting® Award winners have proven to be industry leaders in service quality based entirely on ratings provided by their clients. On average, clients of 2021 Best of Accounting winners are twice as likely to be satisfied than those who work with non-winning firms.

Read more details about Nisivoccia LLP here and Hall, Kistler & Company LLP here.
Exponens Conseil & Expertise (Paris) Acquires New Law Firm
Exponens Conseil & Expertise has joined forces with Quentin & Avocats to set up Exponens Avocats. This new entity, specializing in business law, complements the usual pre-existing relationships that Exponens maintains with other law firms.

After the recent development of Exponens in the insurance industry with Exponens Solutions (risk management consulting) and Aprécialis (actuarial consulting), the creation of Exponens Avocats opens the way to new synergies. Exponens Avocats will provide support to Exponens clients (VSEs, SMEs, mid-sized companies, subsidiaries of groups, startups, charity organizations, and entrepreneurs) in the areas of commercial, corporate, social, and tax law, for advisory as well as litigation issues.

Flynth (Arnhem) Acquires Bosch & van Rijn
As of January 1, Bosch & van Rijn has been acquired by Flynth.

Bosch & van Rijn’s mission is to contribute to a responsible growth of renewable energy in The Netherlands. Its advisors work with all aspects of renewable energy policy and projects. Bosch & van Rijn supports project developers and energy cooperatives in obtaining permits for their projects, from the first idea until the definitive granting of the permit. The advisors are involved in energy yield calculations, financial analyses, spatial planning, permit management, landscape integration, ecology, environmental research, communication, participation, and more.

Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP (New Delhi) Presents Highlights of 2021 Indian Union Budget
The Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented her third budget in February. This budget assumes great significance, as it comes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to massive economic disruption in India and around the world. 

Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP (New Delhi) has produced a synopsis of this year’s budget, which includes highlights of the Economic Survey, non-tax announcements, and direct and indirect tax proposals.

Read more, and access the synopsis here.
Rui Pinho (Porto) Elected Vice-President of Portuguese Auditors Professionals Body
Rui Pinho, vice-chair of BKR International's EMEA Regional Board and partner at BKR Member Firm Esteves, Pinho & Associados, SROC, Lda, was elected vice-president of the Portuguese Auditors Professional Body.

In a ceremony that took place in the beautiful auditorium of the “Casa das Histórias Paula Rego” in Cascais, near Lisbon, on January 7, the new members of the Portuguese Auditors Professional Body, “OROC – Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas,” were elected for the triennium 2021-2023.

This event was attended by the Portuguese secretary of state for Tax Affairs, António Mendonça Mendes, the president of the Portuguese Court of Auditors, Judge Counsellor José Tavares, the mayor of Cascais, Carlos Carreiras, and the new president-elect, Virgilio Macedo. The former prime minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, was also present.

Ravi Arumugam (Singapore) Appointed Member of POFE
Congratulations to Ravi Arumugam of RT LLP (Singapore) for being appointed as one of the inaugural six members of the Panel of Financial Experts (POFE) to support the Family Justice Courts (FJC).

The POFE was jointly formed by the FJC and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) to provide FJC judges with financial valuation advice in dealing with issues relating to division of matrimonial assets in divorce cases.

In Memoriam:
Michel Kangmeni Yossa (Douala, Cameroon)
Auditec-Foirier Consulting (Douala, Cameroon) has reported the death of Michel Kangmeni Yossa. Michel died earlier this year and was buried on January 30. At this very sad time, our thoughts are with Michel's family and colleagues.

Michel was a well-known character in BKR International. He was a very active participant of the BKR EMEA African Subregional Group, and his presence will be greatly missed.

Auditec-Foirier Consulting can be contacted through Nfor Lesley Nginyu at nfornfor@auditec-foirier.com.
Tax Update from UNW LLP (Newcastle upon Tyne):
Government Extends £1 Million Tax Break to Stimulate Investment by UK Businesses
As the UK Budget, originally scheduled for autumn, has been postponed and will now take place on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the UK government made a number of announcements regarding tax in November 2020. This included the extension of the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) £1 million temporary cap until January 1, 2022, in order to stimulate investment and support business confidence.

The AIA is a tax relief for businesses on the acquisition of plant and machinery that gives full tax relief in the year of purchase. The announcement means that businesses, including UK manufacturing firms, will be able to continue claiming up to £1 million in same-year tax relief (100% capital allowances) through the AIA for plant and machinery assets acquired until January 1, 2022.

Austrian Transfer Pricing Guidelines Update
In connection with transfer pricing, many companies have difficulties to specify a price for a transaction between members of a MNE. The arm’s length principle is dominating when determining the transfer price.

The Austrian transfer pricing guidelines serve as an interpretation and are in line with Article 9 of the OECD-MC. They have been adapted in 2020 and were published in a draft version. The assessment period ended on January 10, 2021, and it is expected that they will be officially announced within the next weeks.

The focus is now more on economic substance and on determining the true economic content. Only if a company has on the basis of a functional analysis a significant risk or exercises an economic function within a value chain, then profit shall be attributed to such a company. Also, the risk analysis is becoming increasingly more important. That means a larger profit is very likely to be attributed to a company exercising a control and risk reduction right, or that is affected by positive and negative consequences of risk development, or that has financial capacity for the risk bearing.

An Overview of Malta's Personal Tax Programmes
Malta offers a range of benefits to individuals and their dependents seeking to relocate to Malta and acquire residence, under different tax programmes. These programmes have been designed to attract HNWI, whether EU, EEA, Swiss nationals, or Third country nationals, providing for a favourable tax regime and conditions. The Maltese authorities have also extended certain programmes to British individuals and other Third countries following Brexit.

The tax programmes are mainly:

  • The Residence Programme;
  • The Global Residence Programme;
  • The Malta Retirement Programme; and
  • The United Nations Pensions Programme.

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Reminder!
Submissions for the May/June 2021 issue of the BKR International Worldwide Bulletin are due by Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Volume 43 | Number 2