What Does an International Tax Manager Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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An international tax manager is responsible for ensuring that a multi-national company complies with tax laws in each of the nations in which it operates. Some major companies employ individuals as in-house tax managers, while other managers are employed by accounting firms that provide tax advice for companies on a contractual basis. Aside from compliance issues, an international tax manager is tasked with saving money by using tax laws to the firm's advantage.

Typically, an international tax manager must have completed a college degree in accounting. Additionally, most firms only employ licensed or certified accountants in these roles. Due to the nature of the work many firms require tax managers to have second language skills and some familiarity with both domestic and international tax laws and treatises.

Multi-national firms often manufacture and sell goods in a variety of different nations. In many instances, a firm may have to pay corporate income tax in several different nations since taxes may be due in any country where the firm operates. An international tax manager has to calculate the firm's overall tax liability and ensure that taxes are paid in full so as to avoid fines or other kinds of penalties. Since tax laws can change on a frequent basis, the tax manager must also keep up to date with legislative developments and inform senior management whenever tax brackets are raised or lowered.


To facilitate cross-border commerce, many nations enter into international tax agreements which enable multi-national firms to avoid double taxation on corporate profits. The international tax manager must advise the firm's directors as to how the company's assets can best be deployed so as to minimize the firm's tax liability. In some instances, a firm may benefit if it closes a manufacturing department in one nation and opens a new plant in another country with more business friendly tax laws. Tax brackets in many nations are tiered which means that the tax rate increases if a firm's profits exceed a certain level. Therefore, a tax manager may advise senior management to slow down production in one nation and increase operations elsewhere in order to avoid tax hikes.

An international tax manager normally presides over a taxation or accounting department and all of the employees and administrators employed in that department are direct reports of the manager. Therefore, the manager has the authority to assign accountants to particular projects. The manager is also responsible for hiring, training and firing employees. Like any company department, the tax office has a budget and the manager is responsible for ensuring staff and supply costs do not exceed the annual budget cap


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