|The members of the Global Tax 50
represent the choices of the International Tax
Review editorial team for those who have had the
biggest impact on taxation during the past 12 months.
Breaking down the entire 50 individually according to the
impact they made in 2015 would require too granular an
approach, so the magazine list is ordered alphabetically
for ease of navigation, while here, online, you can view
the top 10 influencers, set apart for their particular
The number one spot on the Global Tax 50 has gone to
controversial figures or groups for the past two years running.
Last year, the list was topped by Jean-Claude Juncker, the
European Commission president who found himself in a maelstrom
of media attention and calls for his resignation over
accusations of hypocrisy and conflict of interest in relation
to EC investigations into tax competition and state aid.
A year earlier it was a shared entry, with Amazon, Google
and Starbucks collectively holding the top spot after the
furore over those multinationals' tax affairs turned the tax
world on its head, setting the pace and direction of policy
change and leading to greater transparency and information
exchange. The increase in scrutiny of multinational tax affairs
– and of the tax rulings multinationals have with
jurisdictions around the world, though particularly in Europe
– is clear to see from the make-up of this year's
list, and those three companies, along with Juncker, played a
big role in driving this trend. Perhaps not the impact they
would have liked, but an undeniable impact nonetheless.
As in previous editions, politicians and policymakers make
up a chunk of the list, though we also recognise academics,
authors, campaigners, CEOs, judges and even a filmmaker, among
We welcome comments on our Global Tax 50. Please share your
thoughts and reactions. Do you agree with our entries? Who do
you think should make up next year's list?
Be sure to check out our LinkedIn and Twitter platforms to
take part in these live discussions.
The Top 10 ranked in order of influence
European competition commissioner
Vestager has had a pretty action-packed first full year in
the job as European competition commissioner. She tops the
list after a year in which her state aid challenges hogged
the headlines. When she snuck into the Global Tax 50 last
year after just one month in the job, she pledged to continue
a "strong and precise" approach to ensuring fair tax
competition in Europe. The continuing impact of this is clear
OECD CTPA director
There are a number of OECD CTPA representatives in the
Global Tax 50 2015, and no small number of others who would
have been equally justifiable to include, but it is
Saint-Amans that takes a top 10 spot by virtue of his
oversight role and international visibility.
Minister of taxation, People’s
Republic of China
With a geographical area of 9,600,000km2 and a
population of 1.38 billion, overseeing tax policy and
collection in China is no small task. Add to this the
economic turmoil that hit china during 2015 and it is clear
that the minister for taxation faced an uphill struggle last
year. But Wang Jun was unfazed, pressing ahead with key
reforms and collecting $2 trillion in revenues. He now
prepares for another busy year as China hosts the G20.
Minister of finance, India
Jaitley continues to guide the turning of the ship as
India moves towards a more pro-investment, business-friendly
and non-adversarial tax environment. Economic growth rates
continue to vindicate his policies.
The inclusion of the Yahoo and Pfizer CEOs in this
year’s top 10 shows the continuing rise of
taxation in the boardroom and c-suite. Tax is no longer the
preserve of specialists locked away behind the scenes,
particularly when it comes to high-value corporate
transactions and Mayer helped to reinforce this message in
2015, intentionally or not.
Global tax policy director, GE; chairman, BIAC
Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee
Maintaining – and presenting to international
policy-makers – a united stance from business on
international tax affairs has long been Morris’
priority, and 2015 was a big year for judging his success in
this area, with the delivery of the OECD’s final
BEPS Project recommendations. Few fought harder to present
and protect business interests.
Last year we recognised 'inverting
pharmaceuticals’ as a collective entry in the
Global Tax 50. This year one figure stepped forward to
champion the interests of that group. Read actively defended
the rights of companies to escape the nightmarish US tax code
and its many complexities throughout 2015. And words matched
actions when Pfizer announced the $160 billion acquisition of
European tax commissioner
While it is his Commission colleague, Margrethe Vestager,
who takes top spot in the list, Pierre Moscovici and his team
have also made huge strides in the past 12 months. Progress
on some initiatives may have stalled, but automatic
exchange of information on tax rulings is being successfully
adopted, while the Parent-Subsidiary Directive has been
updated to close loopholes.
Head of the VAT unit, European Commission
The head of the European Commission’s VAT
Unit rolled out the mini one-stop shop (MOSS) VAT system for
e-services, telecommunications and broadcasting services in
the EU on January 1 2015. Raponi has overseen its successful
implementation and is already working on plans to extend the
MOSS to other services.
The Global Alliance for Tax Justice represents a civil
society movement calling for multinational companies to pay
their share of tax. It brings together groups such as the Tax
Justice Network, Eurodad and the FACT Coalition. The rapid
growth of the alliance since its inception in 2013 is
testament to the weight behind the tax justice movement.
Businesses cannot afford to ignore their message.
What do you think of the top 10? Is
there anyone missing from the top 10? Have your say on Twitter
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The remaining 40 in alphabetic order