Global Tax 50 2014: Armando Lara Yaffar
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Global Tax 50 2014: Armando Lara Yaffar

Chairman of UN Tax Committee

Armando Lara Yaffar

Armando Lara Yaffar was also in the Global Tax 50 2013

Armando Lara Yaffar returns to the Global Tax 50 for this year. The Mexican continues to have a key role in the development of international tax policy, particularly for developing countries, in his role as chairman of the UN Tax Committee. Lara identifies the decision to incorporate the fees for technical services article in the UN Model Treaty as the biggest impact of the Committee's work this year. "It was by a very large majority," he says. "We had a very sensitive discussion because many countries were totally opposed to that provision. We tried not to override treaties, but to achieve a balance. It was the most important discussion we had in the committee. We were analysing all of these options and trying to provide two solutions, one mandatory, one voluntary."

The Committee also launched work on the extractive industries this year. How to update the exchange of information (EoI) article in the model treaty is other work that is waiting to be done. It is a topic that is close to Lara's heart as he also chairs working group 10 on EoI at the OECD. "It has to happen," he says.

The Committee's goals for 2015 include further work on transfer pricing, led by Stig Sollund, particularly on intangibles, as it moves toward a new version of the UN TP Manual. "Intangibles are being created all the time, such as lists of clients and we have to find a proper way to reward such activities," says Lara. An intermediate report on the manual is due at the Committee's next annual meeting in October 2015, with a final draft of the manual in the following year or 2017 at the latest.

Countries are also asking for technical assistance, particularly in the area of exchange of information. "We also have to see how BEPS develops and its impact on the UN model," says Lara. He is particularly interested to see what comes out of the project on transfer pricing and country-by-country reporting: "We have to see how to use this information in a proper way that will supplement the arm's-length standard."

The increasing importance of the UN Tax Committee has led many to argue that it should take over responsibility from the OECD for international tax guidance. Lara points out some of the difficulties with the idea: "The resources in the UN are very limited as opposed to the OECD. Most of the work is done by the members. It would be difficult to take on more. The role of the UN is to focus on developing countries and to help with capacity building as well."

The Global Tax 50 2014

View the full list and introduction

Gold tier (ranked in order of influence)

1. Jean-Claude Juncker  2. Pascal Saint-Amans  3. Donato Raponi  4. ICIJ  5. Jacob Lew  6. George Osborne  7. Jun Wang  8. Inverting pharmaceuticals  9. Rished Bade  10. Will Morris


Silver tier (in alphabetic order)

Joaquín AlmuniaAppleJustice Patrick BoyleCTPAJoe HockeyIMFArun JaitleyMarius KohlTizhong LiaoKosie LouwPierre MoscoviciMichael NoonanWolfgang SchäubleAlgirdas ŠemetaRobert Stack


Bronze tier (in alphabetic order)

Shinzo AbeAlberto ArenasPiet BattiauMonica BhatiaBitcoinBonoWarren BuffettECJ TranslatorsEurodadHungarian protestorsIndian Special Investigation Team (SIT)Chris JordanArmando Lara YaffarMcKessonPatrick OdierOECD printing facilitiesPier Carlo PadoanMariano RajoyNajib RazakAlex SalmondSkandiaTax Justice NetworkEdward TroupMargrethe VestagerHeinz Zourek

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