Real-Time Indirect Tax Compliance: Future Trends and Strategic Insights

Real-Time Indirect Tax Compliance: Future Trends and Strategic Insights

Fonoa’s Rob van der Woude and Alexander Kobakhidze recently held a webinar with Erich Tschopp from AirBnB.

The topics discussed included the future of indirect tax, real-time compliance, and evolving tax function needs. A summary is provided below, and a link to the full webinar is also available.

Who is Erich Tschopp?

  • Erich Tschopp is the Global Head of Indirect Tax at AirBnB.
  • Responsible for VAT/tourist taxes, business advisory, controversy, compliance and (data) reporting, product and engineering work, tax policy.
  • Erich has a very proactive and progressive approach to managing tax and the tax function.
  • He and his team partner up and focus on “working with stakeholders” vs “running around saying no to everybody”.
  • His AirBnB Indirect Tax function: team of 20, additional regional tax team in LATAM/EMEA/APAC support, as well as 32 full-time employees (FTE) in Engineering and Product. The engineering teams are dedicated to Tax needs and requirements.
  • A lot of current legislation was already de facto practise for AirBnB through direct agreements with governments and tax authorities - trying to help drive good solutions that work for governments and platforms. For example, tax data sharing & marketplace facilitator arrangements were already part of his reality before it became mainstream legislation across the globe.

The future of indirect tax compliance

  • The speakers agreed that the future indeed is real-time data reporting & compliance.
  • Erich expects it to take at least 10 years before this becomes the norm worldwide, but that might be sooner (as revealed by a poll of the webinar audience, where more than 50% believed it would be in 7 years or earlier).
  • Regardless, this is a massive change for most tax functions strategically that tax teams should act now.
  • E-invoicing & digital reporting is a driver for fast technology adoption. There is no other way.
  • Having great relationships with peers in similar companies and learning from them helps inform your own path and strategy.
  • Being outward-looking helps form a better long-term strategy and understand tax function needs.
  • Learning from others who have time to get ahead quickly can save you time and provide shortcuts to insights into best practices.

The role of technology in tax compliance

  • Erich shared that at AirBnB this has been a journey of cross-functional collaboration over many years in order to get to the mature digital tax function they are today.
  • Erich advises starting with resources (tax expertise, dedicated budget and technical expertise in IT/Fintech like teams). Without resources NOTHING happens.
  • Data is critical. Erich points out that data is not only critical, but collecting it simply and in one go is crucial for a good user/customer experience.
  • Where collecting data is important, Data quality is paramount. Making sure that the data collected is accurate and validated is key.
  • At AirBnB, Fintech (IT) has assigned resources directly to the Tax Function, and Erich drives the tax technology development and purchase roadmap for those resources. They get a lot done this way.
  • In terms of strategy, defining and differentiating between near-term, medium-term, and long-term goals and objectives is helpful.
  • Always focus on flexibility, scalability and future-proof solutions when you start tax technology projects.

Building a case for internal support, budget and buy-in

  • Erich suggests learning from peers and other companies to understand how they developed a mature, tech-driven tax function.
  • He gathered support and resources by taking a multi-stakeholder approach. That means talking to all relevant stakeholders in the company.
  • When you talk to stakeholders, ‘knowing your audience’ is crucial.
  • Talk to your internal stakeholders in a way that is relevant and tangible to them. That can be different for everyone.
  • The main drivers for tax resources and tech investment across the board are:
    • Commercial impact: business value, user experience, business facilitation/growth.
    • Risk mitigation/compliance: no penalties/fines, risk of shutdown, controversy, bad PR.
  • Have frequent conversations with key stakeholders at their level. Make sure you have leadership understanding and buy-in for what is coming. Help them understand the future.
  • Make sure that you communicate in different ways. 1:1 meetings, leadership group updates, specific topics or general strategy. Write business & impact cases.

Skill set requirements for a modern tax team

  • While technical skills are important (coding and deep technical skills), understanding data and translating complex tax and business requirements into technological solutions is even more crucial.
  • Tax professionals can build a robust, future-ready tax function by focusing on these areas (learning how to simplify communication and distil complex ideas to their core essentials).


The above insights and strategies provide a roadmap for indirect tax professionals navigating the evolving landscape of tax compliance and technology. By adopting a proactive approach, leveraging technology, and fostering collaboration, tax functions can effectively meet the demands of the future.


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