Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week’s Spotlight is on Aditya Singh Chandel, a tax partner with AZB & Partners, a full-service law firm based in India.
Chandel specializes in mergers and acquisition taxes, international tax, goods and services tax, and customs law. He also advises on a broad range of domestic and cross-border tax issues, including digital taxation, joint ventures, restructurings, private equity transactions, and permanent establishment issues, among others.
When he’s not working, you may find Chandel watching documentaries on a wide variety of topics, including the history of eastern Europe and how to live off the grid. The latter, Chandel said, inspired him to a take solo trip into Alaska in 2018.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? My official title is partner with the tax team of the firm, which means that I get an opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues from across offices to advice on all things tax, especially on exciting M&A and private equity transactions.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Free time is generally spent in either watching documentaries or with my daughters. I do listen to podcasts on international tax. My favorite ones are “Tax Chats” by Scott Dyreng and Jeff Hoopes, “Cross-Border Tax Talks” by Doug McHoney, and “International Tax Bites” by Grahame Jackson and Harriet Brown.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Difficult to pick one, but it would be advising clients on cross-border M&A and international tax matters. The quality of transactions or issues that I have got the opportunity to be engaged with has ensured that there is never a dull moment. All thanks to my colleagues at the firm, where learning and problem solving never stops. Coupled with the dynamic nature of international tax, there is no dearth of motivation that keeps one pushing to further explore this area of special interest.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I am a fan of Ken Burns and his work on American history. The three documentaries of his that I recently watched and loved are “The Civil War,” “The Roosevelts” and “The Vietnam War.” On Netflix, I like anything that remotely qualifies as Nordic noir. In that genre, the shows that I really enjoyed are “Shetland” and “Trapped.”
What college did you attend and what did you study? I studied law at National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad (India), one of the premier law schools of India.
Go-to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Has to be tea (chai). Can’t start my day without a cup of piping hot masala chai.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? It was more of professional advice that I got right at the start of my professional journey: “You are as good as your last memo/advice.” In terms of best financial advice, it has been to diversify and to always spread your bets.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Given that I consider myself a history buff, I think being an antique dealer and running an antique store would be my dream job.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? It will be a long wish list of changes, but as an immediate task in the context of India, it would be to simplify the domestic capital gains tax regime. Currently, there are many moving parts governing the regime—period of holding of the capital asset, status of the seller, nature of the capital asset, computation mechanism and, to top it all, multiple capital gains tax rates. Simplifying that would be an opportunity put to good use.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? I love chicken biryani (a mixed-rice Indian dish). For me it’s an anytime go-to food. Otherwise, as a compromise, I don’t mind settling in for a nice pasta.
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? Digitalization and mobility fueled by Covid has had a significant impact on how businesses operate leading to some unique tax problems. On the mobility side, as a measure to retain talent, there is pressure on businesses to provide their employees with the option of working from anywhere, thus posing the question about potential permanent establishment risks for the such businesses in the jurisdiction from where their employees choose to operate and related tax compliance.
On the digitalization side, there was already pressure on the market jurisdictions to plug gaps in the tax laws and Pillar One being a hope to resolve some of those issues. However, with momentum on Pillars One and Two slowing down, and with fast adoption of digitalization, the questions around future impact of any unilateral digital tax measures on highly digitized businesses have started resurfacing.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? To fund a tour of northwest passage or, to keep it boring, invest in stocks of good companies. Given the high inflation rate, I don’t think there is any better asset class to hedge against inflation.
You can find out more about Chandel on LinkedIn.
You can learn more about Chandel’s law firm, AZB & Partners, on its website.
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