Global Tax 50 2017
International Tax Review’s Global Tax 50 provides a rundown of the most influential individuals, organisations, geopolitical events, and trends in the tax world. Now in its seventh year, Anjana Haines introduces the Global Tax 50 2017.
UPDATE: a more recent version of the Global Tax 50 is available.
There was fierce competition this year for the number one spot on the Global Tax 50, but after two years EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager has been knocked off the top spot and replaced by the 'Big Six' tasked with making US tax reform happen.
Many are awaiting the enactment of the US tax reform proposals, which will have a worldwide impact, and the so-called 'Big Six' policymakers have had the biggest influence on the plans so far and will continue to steer the debate as it makes its way through Congress.
The Big Six is composed of Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady.
Trump had made US tax reform an integral part of his presidency election campaign and its success is crucial to his credibility and the reputation of the Republican Party – particularly after the Republicans were defeated on the healthcare bill.
The significance of the work undertaken by his sextet of policymakers, and the long-term impact of their plans, means International Tax Review has awarded them the top spot in this year's Global Tax 50.
In 2016, the Global Tax 50 was topped by Vestager, who has dropped in her ranking this year, but continues to make multinationals quake in their boots.
As in previous editions, politicians and policymakers make up a large portion of the list, though it also recognises big changes in the tax landscape and the influence of certain professions, geopolitical events and emerging trends that are steering the tax debate.
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The Top 10 ranked in order of influence
US Tax Reform Big 6
Group of top policymakers in the Trump administration leading tax reform
US tax reform won’t happen – or will it? Many are awaiting the enactment of the US tax reform proposals, which will have a worldwide impact, and the so-called ‘Big Six’ policymakers have had the biggest influence on the plans so far and will continue to steer the debate as it makes its way through Congress.
Dawn of the robots
A new era in taxation and labour
The robot revolution is here, but who – or what – do you tax in this new era of artificial intelligence?
The breakdown of global consensus
Geopolitical event that has created unprecedented tax uncertainty
The political turbulence in which the western world finds itself will have a profound effect on global tax and trade, meriting the slightly dramatic name of this Global Tax 50 entry.
The fifth estate
Journalism’s effect on tax policy
The phrase ‘Paradise Papers’ evokes images of tropical offshore islands with palm trees and a P.O. address for multinationals and high-net-worth individuals. The list of celebrities involved in one way or another is almost endless. Shakira, Madonna, Keira Knightly, the Queen, Prince Charles, the estate of the late Michael Hutchens, Justin Timberlake, and Amitabh Bachchan. We picture Lewis Hamilton in a private jet.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who joins the ranks of the Global Tax 50 for the fifth year in a row and took top spot in last year’s ranking, has had a quieter 12 months in 2017 compared to previous years. But that’s not to say multinationals aren’t still trembling with fear at the thought of being faced with state aid allegations from the determined commissioner.
Arun Jaitley has achieved a tax goal that many thought would never happen. On July 1 2017, India’s indirect tax system was revolutionised with the introduction of a new goods and services tax (GST) regime.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati
Finance minister, Indonesia
Sri Mulyani Indrawati has had an illustrious career so far, and has shown no sign of slowing down since taking up her position at the head of Indonesia’s finance ministry in July 2016.
Pascal Saint-Amans and Achim Pross
Head of tax policy and administration, OECD & Head of International Tax and Cooperation
The work the OECD has done on the BEPS project has shaken the foundations of the tax world. It is almost impossible to recognise the work of all of the people involved.
Professor of practice in international political economy at City, University of London and author of the Tax Research blog
Richard Murphy came up with the idea of country-by-country reporting (CbCR) in 2003 and his vision reached a milestone this year, earning him a top-10 spot in this year’s Global Tax 50.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
The most visible sportspeople exposed by the Football Leaks
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are only the tip of the iceberg, the bit that shows because the numbers are so huge in the Football Leaks that expose tax evasion.
The remaining 40 in alphabetic orderTomas Balco
Rasmus Corlin Christensen
Rufino de la Rosa
Fabio De Masi
The Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union
Maria Teresa Fabregas Fernandez
The fat tax
The GE/PwC outsourcing deal
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)
Bruno Le Maire
John Pombe Joseph Magufuli
The Maltese presidency of the EU Council
The Paris Agreement
Tax Justice Network
United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters
WU Global Tax Policy Center