Saint-Amans was also in the Global Tax 50
With 2015 marking the conclusion of the OECD BEPS Project,
it was almost inevitable that this year's Global Tax 50 would
again include the Frenchman who leads the Centre for Tax Policy
and Administration (CTPA) at the OECD: Pascal Saint-Amans.
Saint-Amans' three years in the role as CTPA director have
been dominated by the BEPS Project. The project and its final
recommendations drew international attention and immediately
prompted legislative changes in many countries around the
However, there have also been loud criticisms of the project
and its limitations. Some criticisms came from tax campaigners
who felt developing countries' interests had been overlooked,
while, on the other side, issues were raised by taxpayers who
had concerns BEPS legislation would increase instances of
double taxation. Recently there has also been push-back from
politicians in the US who are concerned BEPS unfairly targets
Saint-Amans, speaking with Joelle Jefferis, explains that he
is keen to focus on the progress that has been made in a
limited timeframe, rather than on hastily-formed judgments and
comments on areas of shortcoming.
"But what about the praise?" he asks. "People were sceptical
of our ability to deliver anything. What would have
happened without this project? There is more consensus now than
there was years ago."
After the final recommendations, the OECD's next step will
be monitoring implementation of the guidance at a country
level. Saint-Amans' concerns over inconsistent and
uncoordinated implementation were already made clear when he
publicly condemned the UK's unilateral move to implement a
diverted profits tax (DPT) ahead of BEPS deliverables, which he
said the OECD was "embarrassed" by.
"We have sympathy for the need to move and there is an
electoral context [to take into account as well]...on the other
hand, unilateral actions are not exactly in the sense of what
we are trying to develop," he said in April.
Outside of BEPS, Saint-Amans has led other projects to
improve international taxation standards which will continue in
2016. Together with the UN Development Programme, the OECD
launched Tax Inspectors Without Borders at July's third
financing for development conference in Addis Ababa. This
project sends tax officials from OECD countries to work
alongside local officials in developing countries, to improve
their audit systems and share best practices.