USC Accountancy Students Make History as First Filipino Team to Champion the Deloitte Southeast Asia Tax Challenge

Taxes—while many find them complicated and maybe even boring—are crucial for economies, funding public services, and shaping fiscal policies. And for some reason, even though taxes can be tricky, there are those who love diving into the intricacies of this field.

Meet this group of students from the University of San Carlos (USC). They recently made history as the first Filipino team to have won the championship in the Deloitte Southeast Asia Tax Challenge 2024, held on March 14–15 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

These USC students Emerged as Winners in the Deloitte Southeast Asia Tax Challenge

Team “Happy and Deloitted,” composed of four B.S. Accountancy students bested the other teams from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam in the two-day competition. Third-year students Nefalin Demafiles, Danielle Mae Louise Go, Christian Ian Omandam, and Lawrence Sarigumba emerged as champions in a rigorous challenge evaluating participants’ international tax expertise through case studies.

The Deloitte Southeast Asia (SEA) Tax Challenge began in 2016, organized by Deloitte Southeast Asia for college students in the region. It aims to encourage student interest in taxation and increase the profession’s visibility while providing networking opportunities. The competition has attracted thousands of students from participating countries.

Initially, it welcomed qualified participants who had triumphed in national-level tax competitions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. This year, the Philippines won, with teams creating a written memo on one topic and giving an oral presentation on another in just 90 minutes.

The aforementioned students from the University of San Carlos represented the Philippines after winning the National Round of the Deloitte Tax Challenge 2023 held on November 24, 2023, at the Deloitte Philippines Main Office in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

Apart from securing the championship title, the Carolinian team also claimed the Overall Best Writer award, with Danielle Mae Louise Go recognized as the Best Presenter in the international competition.

Team “Happy and Deloitted” was accompanied by Joemel Dakay, CPA, the Assistant Chairman of the USC Department of Accountancy, during their trip to Indonesia. They were coached by Deloitte SEA Transfer Pricing Leader, Atty. Carlo Navarro and Assistant Manager for Deloitte Transfer Pricing, Vincent Egalloy.

In today’s digital age filled with entertaining distractions and social media buzz, it’s heartening to see the unique interest USC students have in taxation. While many are captivated by digital entertainment and social media, these students recognize the importance of understanding taxation not only for their future but also for contributing positively to the country and assisting others.