Southeast Asian tax specialist joined Andersen Hungary

Opening up to Far East markets has emerged as a new strategic element of Andersen’s medium-term plans. The company’s goal is first of all to approach those Asian businesses and large corporations which have operating investments, sites, manufacturing capacities or subsidiaries in Hungary, or are laying the groundwork for such investments. The signing of an experienced Southeast Asian tax specialist was an important step in this process. Ngwe Lin Myat Chit worked for 10 years in Cambodia, Myanmar and Singapore for various consulting firms, including VDB Loi which is Andersen’s collaborating partner in the region. In this interview with her, we talked about her experiences, her new role, and her professional goals.

Why did you decide to continue your career in Europe?

Ever since I embarked on my career as a tax advisor, I became very passionate in terms of how tax plays a vital role in corporate structures. My ten years of tax experience in Southeast Asian countries has urged me to enhance my technical knowledge from a jurisdictional to international perspective as I aspire to become one of the best international tax experts.

With the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) implementing the global minimum tax this year which will transform the international tax landscape, I understand that all the exciting changes in terms of international tax planning and corporate structuring would be happening in the European countries where majority of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are headquartered. Therefore, I believe it is the right time for me to continue my career in Europe as I would have the chance to have first-hand experience working with those MNCs reviewing and restructuring their corporate structures to be aligned with global minimum tax requirements.

When did you join Andersen Hungary? Why did you choose this company?

I joined Andersen Hungary back in January 2023. I have extensive background in both direct and indirect taxes, particularly in the area of corporate tax structuring, cross-border tax planning, tax optimization of commercial contracts, tax due diligence, tax compliance, and tax dispute matters for a wide range of industries. Therefore, when making my career move, my main consideration is to have a chance to work with the best team in the country where I can not only contribute but also further progress both my professional and personal goals.

Speaking from my personal experience working at the Andersen collaborating firm, VDB Loi, in Southeast Asia before, I know that Andersen always collaborates with the best firms in the country. Andersen Hungary winning not only the “Tax Firm of the Year” two years in a row but also the “Indirect Tax Firm of the Year” in 2022 on top of being selected as a Tier 1 tax firm as per the assessment of the International Tax Review has assured my decision of choosing to work at Andersen Hungary as I believe it would be the place where I can best showcase my seasoned experiences while making my career progress.

Did you know anything about Hungary before?

I was familiar with Hungary for its rich culture, beautiful architecture, as well as great food as I have been to Budapest as a tourist while I was doing my master program in Sweden. Also, while researching for my relocation purposes to Europe, I learnt that Hungary has one of the fastest growing economies in central Europe with the most favorable corporate and personal income tax rates which therefore is becoming an attractive destination not only for foreign investments but also for individual digital nomads. As a tax expert, my knowledge about Hungary was quite limited to the extent of my technical field before. However, now that I am living and working in Hungary, I am learning more about the culture and history of the country as well as the language so that I would be able to appreciate the real essence of the country I am living in.

How do you feel in Budapest?

Relocating to a new country indeed has exciting yet challenging experiences especially since I come from a totally different culture and don’t speak the language here yet. But based on my experience so far, I feel Budapest is welcoming and I like the city not only for its breathtaking architecture and scenery but also for its vibe in terms of the different atmospheres offered by the two sides of the city.

My workplace on the Buda side is surrounded with the beautiful sight of the mountains and greenery of the parks whereas my place on the Pest side is more like a typical big European city surrounded with historical and cultural buildings thriving with tourists and international students. Even the weather on the two sides of the city can be quite different on the same day; Buda side may be covered with snow but that doesn’t mean there will be snow on the Pest side for that day. That really makes me feel like I am living in two different cities at the same time.

Do you already have a favorite Hungarian dish?

Another thing I like about Hungary is for its food. I am a fan of spicy food and Hungary also being popular for its famous paprika. I really like the fact that there is always an option of choosing a spicy food from the menu. My favorite Hungarian dish so far is roasted duck with cabbage and also Lángos, which tastes similar with my favorite food, E Kyar Kway (also called Youtiao in Chinese), from my home country, Myanmar.

Based on your experience so far, what are the biggest differences between your previous workplaces and Andersen Hungary?

One of the major differences between my previous workplaces in Cambodia, Myanmar & Singapore and Andersen Hungary would be the working cultural differences between Asian and European countries. Basically, Asian workplaces tend to work in a more fast-paced environment whereas here in Andersen Hungary, there is more flexibility and have more work-life balance.

Another difference would be the cultural diversity in the workplace as there were more international expats with different cultural backgrounds in my previous workplaces as Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar and Cambodia are becoming popular among expats from all around the world due to lower living costs.

At Andersen Hungary, I am the very first and only non-Hungarian person on top of being Asian. However, despite that I am very grateful to have colleagues and partners who are very welcoming and helping me in every bit with my relocation to a new country as well as adapting to the new workplace.  

What is your role at the company? What areas or services are you responsible for? What is your main task?

I am a senior advisor at the firm advising and helping clients in terms of tax planning, tax structuring and tax compliance for both corporate and individual taxation matters in Hungary. Also, I am part of our firm’s focus team who will be advising and helping clients with global minimum tax requirements on their current corporate structures. In addition, I am responsible for Asian focused business developments not only for Hungary but also for other Central European countries by collaborating with Andersen firms in the region as well as other Andersen collaborating firms in Asia.  

Does Andersen Hungary already have any relations with Asian companies?

Of course. As Hungary is becoming popular among Asian investors as well for its favorable tax rates, incentives and investment subsidies, Andersen Hungary is already offering our assistance to Asian clients with our dedicated team helping to obtain state aid and grants, tax credits as well as tax incentives. With my contribution as well in terms of my technical expertise and experiences handling Asian clients, I believe we would be in a stronger position to further our services to Asian companies for a wider range of service lines.  

What are your goals? What results would you be satisfied with in the short and long term?

Being the focal person for Asian clients and investments in Asia, my short-term goal is to expand our existing Asian client base by offering the services tailored to the needs of Asian investors thereby bridging any cultural differences. My long-term goal is building up a dedicated regional team for the tax structuring and planning by working closely with Andersen firms in the region.