Our Spotlight series sheds light on the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week, Spotlight on Brandi Caruso, who lives in Switzerland and directs
Caruso has over 20 years of experience at Deloitte and has spent the past 13 years in Zurich, following early stops in San Diego and London. She and her team focus on the banking, insurance and investment management sectors.
In her spare time, she watches and relates to the Canadian sitcom “Workin’ Moms” on Netflix, dreams of owning a B&B and wishes there were tax credits for students traveling abroad. .
What is your official title and what does it mean? I lead a team of 20 people made up of Swiss, international and US tax experts. My team and I serve national and international Swiss-based banks, insurance companies, fund managers and trust companies looking to comply with complex tax regulations and stay competitive.
Free time: book, audiobook or podcast? Podcast, short and informative and a great way to catch up on the latest news while on the go or between meetings.
Taxation is a big subject. What is your particular area of interest? About 10 years ago, I started specializing in the financial services industry when the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act came into effect, helping the Swiss financial services industry understand and operationalize these US extraterritorial rules. The introduction of the FATCA rules led to an overhaul of the US Qualified Intermediary regime, which Swiss banks use to provide access to US capital markets to their non-US clients. The FATCA and QI regimes are legislatively and operationally complex, the IRS is continually improving and expanding these rules, and non-US financial institutions are required to periodically certify their compliance with the IRS.
What is the last movie or show you watched and liked (DVD, Netflix or at the cinema)? “Working moms. I watched it shortly after returning to work from maternity leave. Some of the challenges were painfully relatable, and laughing at them was cathartic.
What college did you attend and what did you study? University of California, Los Angeles, Spanish Literature and Accounting. I thought I would work in international trade in Mexico – now I’m married to an Italian and I work in a German-speaking town!
Pick up: Coffee or tea? Coffee—short and strong.
What is the best tax or financial advice someone has ever given you? As a tax advisor, it is not possible to know all the laws and regulations. It is best to surround yourself with the right people, and collectively the knowledge of the team is far superior to that of the individual. I have the best team in the world and we lift each other up.
If you weren’t in the tax field, what would your dream job be? Have a bed-and-breakfast with a fabulous wine bar.
If you had the option of making one change in the tax world — an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever — what would it be? Tax credits for students traveling and studying abroad. The experience of stepping out of your cultural comfort zone is personally fulfilling and contributes to a more caring work environment.
Favorite food, snack or treat during tax time or another busy time? Peanut M&Ms – a little sweet, a little protein energy and the colors are fun.
What tax news or ruling has had the most impact on your practice or clients in the past year? The IRS has increased its scrutiny when it comes to FATCA and QI compliance, which ups the ante. My team is working hard to keep our clients in line with these changes and in good standing with the IRS.
If you got a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Pay off my mortgage! And, perhaps, taste a nice bottle of bubbles.
You can find Caruso on LinkedIn.
You can learn more about Caruso and his company, Deloitteon its website.
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