The members of the Global Tax 50 represent the choices of
the International Tax Review editorial team, who
decided who or what they thought has had the biggest
impact on taxation during the past 12 months. Breaking
down the entire 50 individually according to the impact
they made in 2016 would require too granular an approach,
so the magazine list is ordered alphabetically for ease
of navigation, while online you can view the top 10
influencers, set apart for their particular
The number one spot on the Global Tax 50 has been retained
by Margarethe Vestager for a second year after she announced
the landmark state aid decision concerning Apple’s
tax rulings with Ireland. She has been surrounded by media
attention as a result of the decision and has faced a backlash
of criticism from the parties involved and US politicians,
In 2016, the Global Tax 50 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 European Commissions investigations into tax
competition and state aid, following the LuxLeaks scandal. A
year earlier, the top spot was a shared entry, with Amazon,
Google and Starbucks collectively after the public outcry over
their tax affairs.
The increased scrutiny of the multinationals’
tax affairs - and of the tax rulings multinationals have with
jurisdictions around the world, though particularly in Europe -
have driven the changes that were witnessed in 2016. Through
Vestager’s role, more tax rulings were deemed
illegal under state aid rules, while many countries made
changes that boosted corporate transparency and tackled profit
As in previous editions, politicians and policymakers make
up a majority of the list, though it also recognises academics,
authors, campaigners, CEOs, and judges, among others.
The full list of the 50 most influential people in tax will
be published on December 14.
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 and why?
Be sure to check out our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
platforms to take part in these live discussions.
The Top 10 ranked in order of influence
European competition commissioner
The EU competition commissioner has had a busy year
scrutinising the tax affairs of multinational enterprises and
member states. She has topped this year's Global Tax 50 list
for her most notable decision concerning Apple's tax rulings
Network of journalists
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
(ICIJ) has established itself as a major player in the world
of tax with leaks of confidential information leading to
substantial legislatives changes worldwide.
Geopolitical event that has created unprecedented tax
The narrow vote by the people of the UK to leave the
European Union in a referendum on June 23 took the world -
and much of the UK itself - by surprise.
Minister of finance, India
Arun Jaitley has pulled a hat-trick and remained in the
Global Tax 50 for the third year running for his continued
efforts to overhaul India's tax system and rid it of
corruption and opaque policies.
Secretary of the treasury, US
Jacob Lew returns to the Global Tax 50 this year due to
his influential tax changes that saw big business deals
collapse. He has also been vocal in calling for US tax reform
in the wake of the state aid investigations by the European
Former PwC employees and whistleblowers
Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet are new entries to
this year’s Global Tax 50 for their involvement
in the infamous tax scandal, the LuxLeaks, which has been
influential in political dialogue to tackle tax avoidance,
improve transparency and protect whistleblowers.
Court reform in Brazil
Operação Zelotes, or Operation
Zealots, was a two-year police investigation into court
corruption in Brazil that resulted a complete closure and
overhaul of the tax courts, with the ramifications still
being felt today. While the police investigation ran from
2013 to 2015, its aftermath has been felt most keenly by
taxpayers in 2016. Since the courts reopened, they are far
more likely to find in favour of the tax authorities.
Lead Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament; Chair
of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
When former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was
appointed as the lead Brexit negotiator for the European
Parliament, dismay rippled through the halls of Westminster -
at least among UK politicians hoping for an easy process in
negotiating its exit from the EU.
Prime Minister and Brexit negotiation chiefs: Boris
Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis
Theresa May became the UK Prime Minister on July 13 2016
and, given the scale of the challenge that Brexit poses, she
faces perhaps the most difficult tenure of any UK premier
since the Second World War.
President-elect Donald Trump sits high on this list after
winning November's seismic US election, which means that the
Republic party holds the House of Representatives, the
Senate, the executive Court and the Supreme Court. A clean
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The remaining 40 in alphabetic order