Magazine Store

30 Innovators to Watch 2021

‘Our innovative, end-to-end VAT compliance platform gives clients total control of their global VAT returns’ — Catherine Quirke, CEO of Taxback International


“Our ability to adapt to the evolving tax landscape and willingness to refine our solutions is what will continue to set us apart.”

Tax authorities around the world are becoming digitalised and in effect completely transforming their previous tax infrastructure. This is better for tax authorities because it’s easier to monitor data, prevent fraud, and create efficient automation. It’s also good for businesses because by using technology platforms, globally-trading companies can adapt easier to potential changes. Businesses can centralise their processes and avoid unnecessary audits and potential penalties for non-compliant reporting.

However, the digital transformation is not taking a uniform approach by each tax authority on a global basis. This lack of standardisation has created a huge burden on businesses trying to adapt which has led to outsourcing to a specialized third party provider.

Staying ahead of shifting compliance processes can be time-consuming and costly for in-house compliance teams. An outsourced technology provider, with an experienced team and dedicated resources, can provide streamlined processing, greater data insights, fewer submission errors and potential audits, adaptability to emerging trends and changes, and saving compliance costs.

In light of the foregoing, we’re pleased to present Taxback International — the world’s leading technology and services company, providing VAT services. Taxback International is transforming how VAT compliance and recovery is managed on a global basis. It operates worldwide and is headquartered in Kilkenny, Ireland.

To highlight and further understand what Taxback International stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Catherine Quirke, who serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

Below is an excerpt.

Tell us what inspired the creation of Taxback International.

In 1996, Terry Clune started Taxback International out of a simple desire to help students studying abroad claim back their taxes. Terry’s entrepreneurship is truly inspiring, having founded seven successful businesses within CluneTech, including Taxback International. His leadership, inclusiveness, passion for winning, and record of success are the key driving forces behind CluneTech. He has a knack for identifying key talent and giving them the resources and freedom to truly excel - empowering everyone to be their very best. The CluneTech Group actively promotes equality by ensuring everyone can enjoy the same opportunities, responsibilities, and rewards.

In the intervening 25 years, Taxback International has grown into the world’s leading VAT technology and services company. Today, our global client list includes almost all the Fortune 500 companies (Google, Tesla, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, etc.). Our innovative technology enables the real-time processing of over 10 billion transactions across 180 countries in multiple languages for more than 12,000 businesses.

Q. What makes Taxback International great? And how did the company continue to adapt?

Since its inception, Taxback International has been committed to innovation. But our most significant challenge occurred last year as a result of Covid-19. Like many businesses, our main business model was disrupted due to the downturn of travel and associated expenses. At that time, a smaller yet successful part of our business provided VAT compliance expertise services. We identified the need for a global compliance technology solution backed by VAT expertise.

This led to the development of Comply – the world’s first end-to-end VAT compliance platform for businesses globally. Comply transforms preparation and filing of VAT returns by centralising control on a single platform. Clients gain total visibility over VAT returns and completely avoid penalties for late payments or non-compliant returns.

Detailed info about Comply can be found here:

Q. Given that Taxback International is the world’s leading technology and services company, how uniquely does the company address its customers’ needs?

We’ve identified several challenges facing not only our clients but the entire market. The main challenge is a lack of control and visibility on global VAT compliance reporting. There are a variety of reasons why this can happen depending on the management that’s already in place through a third-party provider or an in-house team.

Comply is intuitively designed with real-time dashboards for forecasting data and analytics, removing risk, and giving visibility and control back to businesses.

Companies must also have local knowledge and language capabilities in today’s global market. This makes it easier to deal with extremely complex local deadlines, changing submission requirements, rules, and regulations. Comply’s dashboard monitors all key metrics on VAT returns submissions and VAT return data. It also provides an end-to-end audit trail capturing current and historical returns by an entity by tax office submission date and frequency. 

Comply  features  revolutionary  payments  technology,  embedded  to  enable  tax  office    payments  in  local  currencies, removing  the  cost  and  risk associated with  late  tax office payments.  Our  fully  regulated  Global  Settlement  Network  of  local  bank  accounts  operates in over  160  countries with  over 130 currencies.

There’s also the issue of security. If a business doesn’t have visibility and control, it can’t be sure of its compliance and security. This leads to penalties and audits. Comply, the world’s first end-to-end VAT compliance platform, gives clients total control on their global VAT returns. Our architecture is multi-tenant and data filters are applied to ensure access to data is restricted based on assigned roles.

Q. That’s not all Taxback International does. What are its other focus areas? 

We combine innovative technology and industry expertise to deliver tailored VAT solutions that minimise risks, so our clients can focus on growing their business. Our other services include Compliance, Domestic VAT Recovery, Foreign VAT Recovery, AP Review, TBI Pay Powered by TransferMate, VAT Consultancy, Storage and Archiving, Benefit in Kind, Receipts and policy audit, US sales and use tax, and USA Meals and Entertainment.

Q. In what industries are your clients? Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how your solutions helped them overcome those challenges?

Taxback International’s clients come from a vast number of industries, including manufacturing – consumer industries/FMCG, services— basic industries, IT, pharmaceutical, transportation, professional services, aerospace, retail, financial services, healthcare, and construction.

Following are a few of our clients that have spoken about their experiences:

“Without Taxback International and their technology, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We have a bright future ahead of us, and their technology will get us there.” Pall Corporation.

“Taxback International has stood out from competitors across a range of values including technology, expertise and innovation.”Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

“We have found Taxback International a thoroughly professional and competent organisation. In particular, we have valued their flexibility in dealing with specific requirements in our industry, and our intercompany and partner transactions.”Red Bull Racing

More client success stories can be found here:

Q. Where do you stand as a company in the current market landscape? And how do you plan to stay ahead of the curve?

For more than 25 years, Taxback International has developed and deepened its knowledge of the VAT industry. However, going forward, expertise and experience alone will not be enough. Innovative and adaptable technology will be the key factor in successfully navigating the evolving tax landscape. 

Businesses need to use technology and digitalise their workflows to adapt to current tax authority processes. Taxback International has developed several platforms including an integrated payments solution (TBI Pay), an automated reclaim solution (VATConnect), and most recently, the world’s first end-to-end VAT compliance platform (Comply) that help businesses manage their VAT workflows efficiently.  

Our ability to adapt to the evolving tax landscape and willingness to refine our solutions is what will continue to set us apart.

Catherine Quirke | CEO

Catherine Quirke has over 25 years of experience working with global enterprise technology and fintech companies in the areas of sales, marketing, and business development. She holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from Dublin Institute of Technology and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Selling from DIT in partnership with Enterprise Ireland.

“Today, our global client list includes almost all the Fortune 500 companies (Google, Tesla, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, etc.).”