Johnston is a new entry this year
As a senior reporter for Tax Analysts, Stephanie Johnston
focuses on the OECD and the UK, but her regular presence on
Twitter has made her engagement in tax discussions global.
Formerly a fashion journalist, Johnston found her way into
tax reporting by chance. "I was looking for a job in DC and put
a message on my grad-school message boards and someone got back
to me saying I'm leaving my job at Tax Analysts and by the way
my name is Johnston as well. And I thought great, if I apply
for this job my big selling point will be that they don't have
to remember a new name."
Five years later and Johnston has become a familiar name to
many in the international tax sphere. As a regular attendee at
OECD events her coverage and analysis is being noticed at
government level. An article she wrote, focusing on the shift
in importance of tax certainty among world leaders at the G20
tax symposium in Chengdu, China, was cited in the US Treasury's
White Paper on the European Commission State Aid Investigations
of Transfer Pricing Rulings.
Johnston described this as "amazing" and cannot deny that
she has built a passion and fascination for international tax
events, particularly over the past four years with the OECD
BEPS changes. "To be on the forefront of all of this stuff, and
this sounds corny, but being a witness to tax history, covering
all this, and really seeing all of this change in the past four
years in the international tax space ─ it's kind of
exciting to be part of. Super nerdy, yet super awesome!"
It is this enthusiasm for tax that drives her regular
Twitter commentary. Tweeting about both tax and more
light-hearted events, Johnston addresses an audience of engaged
and expert "tax tweeps", as well as a broader audience as she
notices tax discussions moving into the mainstream.
"I like to have fun with tax, I hope I show that through my
Twitter presence too. I tweet things that are important and
people should know and I try to inform them, but I also like to
have fun. The culture of tax is pretty interesting, tax twitter
is pretty active and I always tell people to get involved. A
lot of good conversations have come out of it."
One of these good conversations has been the place of women
in tax and Johnston has closely engaged in the Women in Tax
network on Twitter that has now grown into several branches
with regular meetings in the UK. Johnston hopes she can help to
grow the network's objective internationally and support a
North American version of the group.
Outside of her efforts on Twitter, Johnston is looking ahead
to covering what looks likely to be the big news stories of
2017. She sees the impact of state aid decisions to keep on
driving news, alongside the tax implications of the UK leaving
the EU and undoubtedly her favourite topic of BEPS will also
prompt new controversies.
"I'm not worried about not having anything to do," she