News & Views

Greetings from Alumni: Meeri Karlsson, Senior Tax Manager, UPM

23 April 2024

In the fourth part of this springs’s Greetings from Alumni series, we interviewed Meeri Karlsson, who works as a senior tax manager at UPM. During her time at Hannes between 2010 and 2020, Meeri worked as an associate and senior associate in our Tax Team.

Hi Meeri, how are you?

I’m excellent, thank you for asking! Various captivating projects are going on in my professional life, and during my leisure time, I’m inspired to be planning my study projects centered around Pillar II global minimum taxation.

You work as a senior tax manager at UPM. Can you tell us a little bit about your work and daily tasks?

As part of the Group Tax team, my daily tasks include ensuring compliance with tax laws, managing tax audits, and advising on tax implications for business decisions. I collaborate with various stakeholders and business partners. It’s a dynamic role that requires staying up-to-date with tax regulations and adapting to changes in the business environment.

You have also worked as a special advisor at the Ministry of Finance. What would you say are the biggest differences between working as a lawyer in a governmental institution, a public company, and a law firm?

I’d rather start with the common features of these three: the chance to work alongside highly motivated and skilled experts who share a passion for taxation. I feel privileged because I have learned so much from my former and present colleagues. When discerning differences, the Ministry of Finance stands out. There my focus was primarily on Pillar II for an extended period, in contrast to my involvement in multiple concurrent projects at other workplaces. Also, the nuances of EU law were more pronounced during my tenure at the ministry.

You have a licentiate of laws degree in tax law from the University of Helsinki. Who would you recommend post-graduate studies for?

Well, if you had asked me last winter when I was juggling full-time work and burning the midnight oil to finalize my licentiate thesis, I would have emphatically advised against such a strenuous schedule! But let’s get serious: I wholeheartedly recommend post-graduate studies to anyone who has discovered a professional passion for a specific topic — one that they truly want to delve into and eventually master. The Finnish tax researcher community is exceptional — based on my experience, everyone is incredibly willing to lend a helping hand and engage in thoughtful discussions about tax-related matters. These stimulating conversations, in and of themselves, serve as a compelling reason to embrace post-graduate studies.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?

There are many! From achieving significant victories as a team in captivating court cases to navigating the swift and dynamic world of M&A projects, and most importantly, finding cherished friendships and meeting my husband.

One theme that currently stands out in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to know what the things are that keep you going and motivated at work — what is your purpose?

In essence, what keeps me going professionally is to enhance my comprehension of tax systems and evolve as a tax specialist. My fascination with taxation was ignited in my very first tax lectures at university, where, despite initial challenges, I unraveled the complexities of the Finnish dividend tax system. Ever since, I’ve been chasing the rush that comes from fitting that last crucial piece into a tax puzzle.


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