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Battling the VAT

When operating business overseas, there are a number of considerations one must address. While the cultural nuances may be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, there are also a number of financial issues to consider.

Corporate VAT Management, a Seattle-based company, has developed software to enable multinational businesses to address at least one of these major financial issues. The company's flagship software product, autoVAT allows multinational's to increase their value-added tax refunds (VAT).

"Corporations leave 95 percent of eligible VAT refunds, or about $8 billion to $10 billion, overseas each year," says John Powell, president and CEO of Corporate VAT Management. "Yet most of them don't realize the size of their loss. Once we demonstrate that autoVAT enables them to reclaim significantly higher VAT refunds in a more targeted and efficient way than ever before, we get their attention pretty quickly."

Corporate VAT Management develops software that enables customers to recover millions of dollars in foreign value-added taxes, refundable taxes on business expenses such as hotels, car rentals and other qualified costs that corporations often abandon when conducting business overseas.

The company's product, autoVAT, helps companies to efficiently identify refund-eligible VAT expenses and more easily recover them as part of an overall expense-management strategy. The recently introduced version, 5.0, an Internet-based program, allows users to import and analyze expense data, automatically update tax rules, and better organize VAT processing through multi-user support.

According to Powell, who has conducted a significant share of business overseas, VAT is only a small part of the overall challenge international businesspeople will encounter.

"The Challenges are so many when you explore business overseas," says Powell. "Everything is new, cultures are different, ethics are different, and motivations are different, so you feel like you need to get on top of a lot of things that you may not have the resources to effectively do."

At least with his company's product, Powell feels there will be one less thing to worry about.



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