|Grace Perez-Navarro is a new entry this year
Grace Perez-Navarro has been included in this year's Global Tax 50 for her ongoing role in the BEPS Project as deputy director of the OECD's Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
The BEPS Project has spurred tax policy changes by governments, encouraged tax transparency and affected about 9,000 companies globally. International Tax Review spoke with Perez-Navarro about her career in tax, her work at the OECD, and what businesses can expect from the governing body in 2017.
Perez-Navarro began her career at the US Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) Washington practice. She was later approached by the OECD and asked to work on revising its transfer pricing guidelines for a one-year covenant. She was invited back a year later to work at the OECD.
"I originally came for only three years but stayed because the work has continued to evolve and become more interesting, and has had greater impact as we've moved from issue to issue. So it's been fantastic and obviously the recent BEPS Project, which is the biggest most comprehensive international tax project at the OECD, has been the most exciting one," said Perez-Navarro. "When you're able to have impact at the international level its quite meaningful. You know, the OECD's motto is 'Better Policies for Better Lives', and here we are able to produce better tax policies to improve the lives and wellbeing of countries around the world."
This year has been one of implementation for the OECD and one of the "most exciting", for Perez-Navarro. A key developments was finalising the multilateral instrument for the implementation of the tax treaty related BEPS measures. More than 100 countries have worked on the model, which will swiftly implement a series of tax measures to update the international tax rules.
Perez-Navarro highlighted the transition to fairer tax policies in the international tax landscape as a significant step towards greater coordination between tax authorities and businesses. "We have been advocating this for many years but it's only now that countries are really seeing the tangible benefits of strengthening that cooperation and collaboration," she said. "You saw it when the Panama Papers came out, our Forum on Tax Administration immediately called a meeting so that the tax administrations could share the knowledge that they had and the strategies they had for dealing with the information."
Tax uncertainty has been an ongoing area of research for the OECD.
Perez-Navarro says that the organisation has been looking into "how tax uncertainty impacts on cross-border trade and investment and what countries can do on the policy front and the administrative front to reduce that uncertainty".
The implementation of BEPS will be a core part of the OECD's work for 2017. "We will be working on bringing in all the countries on an equal footing and we are already making great progress," said Perez-Navarro. "We already have 91 countries participating in the project and we expect by January to have at least 100 countries. Working with and supporting developing countries will remain a top priority."