The LCN Tax Interview: Agnes Lingane

We are delighted to feature an interview with Agnes Lingane, Director of Taxation for the Asia, Pacific and Japan region of Open Text Corporation, the publicly quoted, Canadian headquartered, global market leader in Enterprise Information Management.

Agnes has over 25 years’ experience in a number of industries, and a detailed knowledge of tax laws and practices in a variety of jurisdictions including Australia, Asia, India and the US. She has a Masters of Law and is a Certified Tax Practitioner.

Why did you get into tax?
I studied economics and law at University and took tax courses under both degrees. I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of tax as it often involved using both the numerical and analytic skills that I was learning. I also like to write and working in tax requires a lot of writing and editing of submissions.

Who has been the most influential role model for your professional life?
One of my law professors – he was passionate about tax policy, corporate social responsibility and tax fairness. As a result, I developed not just a good technical understanding of tax laws and systems but also a good appreciation of the policy and social aspects of tax. It ultimately influenced the choice of companies I worked for.

What do you see as the biggest trend affecting the tax world over the next 10 years?
Probably not a surprise but BEPS and transfer pricing. It is where most countries’ revenue authorities are directing most of their resources these days. The amount of publicity that has been recently seen in this area is unprecedented and you can see this influence driving change in tax risk management strategies in many large MNCs.

BEPS and tax risk management generally are placing huge demands on in-house tax functions. What approaches have you found helpful in getting the most out of the resources available to you?
Having a co-ordinated global approach which identifies the priorities, particularly around documentation (master files and country addendums) and the CBC reporting. A lot of information can be leveraged within the group. Also important to identify what can be cost effectively outsourced versus what is best done in-house.

In a movie of your life story, which actor or actress would you like to play you?
Not sure my life would make an entertaining flick, but Diane Keaton would be a favourite.

What would be your dream job if you didn’t work in tax?
An interior decorator – I love playing with colour and patterns and seeing the end result.

What is your biggest extravagance?
Shoes, shoes and more shoes.

What do you do to relax?
Walking – we are blessed in Sydney with great weather all year around and some wonderful walks – both coastal and bush – some easy, some challenging but all with great views.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
That’s a hard one. My husband and I like to travel but also like to do something a bit different each year. Our last trip was to the Impenetrable Forest in Uganda to trek with the endangered mountain gorillas. Beautiful country, wonderful and friendly people and amazing experience with the gorillas. Highly recommend it.

What piece of advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Think about what your dream job is and what skills you need to get there, and work on that. But don’t forget to take time for yourself and your family. It is very easy to over commit to a job and forget about the rest of your life.

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