|Rita de la Feria
was also in the Global Tax 50
2016 was particularly significant for Rita de la Feria as
she travelled to four continents, 16 countries and 19 cities on
what she describes as a tax tour "that not only changed my work
but changed me forever". International Tax Review
spoke to de la Feria about her year so far and what she has
planned for 2017.
As a leading tax academic, de la Feria is used to being
involved in numerous international taxation projects including
the researching and writing of prominent academic papers that
are frequently cited by courts across Europe, the writing of
tax law and policy, chairing and speaking at conferences and
regularly speaking to the media.
During her tax tour, de la Feria primarily spoke at
conferences and advised governments on tax law and policy. In
early February she presented a draft VAT law to East Timor's
government, parliament and other stakeholders in her role as a
tax adviser to the government. The final draft is expected to
be approved by Parliament by the end of December, which will
enter into force on January 1 2018.
However, De la Feria is most proud of her work in the paper
'What is the Concept of Permanent Establishment (PE) in the
Context of the Globalised and Digitalised Economy', where she
looked at how a PE compares between indirect and direct
taxation. In addition, she wrote a paper that proposed a new
framework to assess the impact of European Court of Justice
jurisprudence on the construction of a European internal market
with German economist Clemens Fuest, entitled 'The Economic
Effects of EU Tax Jurisprudence'.
"The paper is counterintuitive so you wouldn't think
necessarily that this was the case but what we found was a
negative effect [from lower GDP and increased capital costs],"
de la Feria said. "We've had quite a strong reaction to it,
essentially people find it hard to believe the results. But as
time went on I just knew that someone in the audience would be
upset about it." De la Feria has a major project looking at tax
fraud that she expects will be ongoing throughout 2017.
Also in 2016, De la Feria spoke in Brussels at the IMF and
the European Commission's conference on taxation, investment
and innovation from November 17-18, as well as at the UK's
public accounts committee's Global tax transparency summit on
Armed with Jaffa cakes, de la Feria teaches tax law and
policy at Leeds University in the UK. Her students include many
of what she calls her "tax converts", law students that have
gone on to become tax advisers at the Big 4, or tax lawyers in
well-known law firms or chambers, around the world.
In total, she has written and edited four books, and more
than 50 articles and book chapters. "Twenty years ago it was
only something that nerds did but it has spread to the public
debate and now there has never been a more interesting time be
a tax lawyer."
De la Feria is a prominent member of the international tax
community and is expected to remain a driving force in tax