Established in 1971 by Roy Saunders, IFS was initially geared towards entrepreneurs trying to extend their UK based businesses to the common market, now the European Union, in which at that time the UK was only a prospective member. An IFS office in London and Amsterdam catered for both their advisory and implementation needs in creating the appropriate structure for such expansion. In the 1980s, Roy opened offices in New York, Madrid, Jersey, Cyprus and the Netherlands Antilles to help US based clients expand their businesses to the developing markets outside of the US, as well as EU clients wanting to invest and develop businesses in the US. The 90s saw the development of Eastern Europe where IFS began to develop its significant client base in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and many other countries. And now with the growth of China, India and Africa on the international stage there is no dearth of potential markets which require IFS’s expertise.
This expertise can be described simply as having the five following attributes:
Understanding worldwide tax systems
Roy Saunders has written many books on the tax systems in over 30 countries including the US, Canada, UK, Scandinavian and continental European countries, many Eastern European countries as well as Asian countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The industry standard ‘International Tax Systems and Planning Techniques’ was written by Roy in 1983 as the only international tax reference work written by one individual, and although it was withdrawn from publication in its 31st year after its 67th issue, excerpts of it are still available on www.theibsa.org. This knowledge allows Roy and his team to structure an entrepreneur’s business with a knowledge of the tax consequences of a chosen structure in the relevant countries in which the entrepreneur wishes to operate.
Understanding double tax treaties
Having lectured extensively since the early 70s on double tax treaties, Roy is an acknowledged expert not only on treaty provisions but how countries interpret treaties according to their domestic case law and interpretive and legislative bodies such as OECD and European Court of Justice.
Awareness of Anti Avoidance Legislation
IFS has never been involved with the creation or recommendation of artificial tax schemes. Through an understanding of domestic legislation worldwide aimed at attacking both artificial schemes and those which are not based on substantive business operations, IFS ensures that any recommended structure has a long term commercial benefit including tax mitigation through expert knowledge of the interaction of tax systems.
A commercial approach
The above sounds very academic, but having been in business for 44 years on his own account, Roy has a complete awareness and empathy with entrepreneurial clients, and can tailor academically correct structures to the entrepreneur’s individual commercial requirements. Listening to and understanding new ventures is one of the most interesting aspects of an international tax practice, and indeed is essential before putting together an appropriate commercial structure.
Worldwide network of colleagues
IFS prides itself on being able to solve problems, and has developed an international network of contacts to complement its own expertise. These professionals have a similar commercial awareness of client needs and can implement proposed structures with the immediacy required by entrepreneurial clients.
It is for this reason that Roy founded The International Business Structuring Association (IBSA) in March 2014, to provide entrepreneurs and professional advisers of varied disciplines, and at all levels, the knowledge and contacts to assist them in relation to their international business and client issues. In order to create the Association, established professional contacts of IFS were encouraged to become members and share their knowledge and experience through discussion groups, workshops, conferences and articles – to act as ‘mentors’ to those whose careers may emulate theirs in future years.
With branches in North America, Europe, the UK, Asia and the Middle East, the IBSA is the only multi-disciplinary association for practitioners dealing with international business structuring and regulatory compliance across multiple jurisdictions, and runs regular events and networking opportunities for its members through the year.
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