|Tomas Balco is a
new entry this year
Tomas Balco, the new head of transfer pricing at the OECD's
Centre for Tax Policy and Administration in Paris, has been
described as an interlocutor between public and private sector
stakeholders on transfer pricing issues. He takes on the helm
of the OECD's transfer pricing unit at a time when the
organisation is reconciling the massive impact the BEPS project
has had globally with the practical challenges multinationals
are experiencing as a result.
"Clearly, our objective as policymakers in taxation is to
create an environment where business can flourish, while
contributing to a sustainable and inclusive growth. At the same
time, the objective is to assure that the governments have
effective legal and tax administration frameworks in place to
allow them to collect the revenue they need to perform their
functions," Balco told TP Week, ITR's sister
publication, in a recent interview.
Prior to taking up the position at the OECD, Balco was the
general state counsel and head of international taxation at the
Slovak Republic's Ministry of Finance between 2014 and
He has also taught taxation courses as an associate
professor at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he
was also the director of the Central Asian Tax Research Centre
and served as the chair of tax working groups at the American
Chamber of Commerce. The private sector experience has helped
him understand different business models and different
industries, he said.
This bodes well for projects in the BEPS areas that remain
ambiguous for both tax administrations and multinationals, and
are in need of further clarification and application
"In the transfer pricing area, significant progress was made
in addressing some of the weaknesses of the system to prevent
tax avoidance. Indeed, revisiting and clarifying some of the
areas of transfer pricing guidelines allows the tax
administrations to find useful tools on how to handle the
abusive situations arising in transfer pricing. The focus now
remains on the practical aspects of implementing these
recommendations, while seeking to assure consistency to prevent
situations of double taxation due to different interpretations
and applications of the guidelines."
For example, the EU's Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives I and II
that implement BEPS Actions 2, 3 and 4 into member states'
domestic laws are currently in the process of being written
"They [the member states] will need guidance and assistance
in the process and both the OECD and the EU will need to
cooperate in assuring that countries get it right at the
domestic legal implementation stage of these changes," Balco
Looking ahead, Balco is also set to tackle transfer pricing
issues concerning emerging economies.
"In the coming years we also need to focus on assisting
developing countries with limited capacities and to explore
whether we can develop more simplified guidance," Balco
He has also previously been tagged on Twitter as a magician
on mining tax, an area that can most certainly benefit from
"Never before in the history of taxation has so much
happened in such a short time with so many far-reaching
implications," Balco said.
We look forward to more of Balco's work in bringing more
certainty for all stakeholders in global transfer pricing over
the next few years.