All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 ITR is part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC group.

Global Tax 50 2014: Marius Kohl

Former Luxembourg tax official

Marius Kohl

Marius Kohl is a new entry this year

Before October, Marius Kohl was known only to his family, friends and companies that paid tax in Luxembourg. Then he gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – also in the Global Tax 50 this year – published leaked documents about tax rulings given to companies in that country and all hell broke loose, as far as tax avoidance in the EU was concerned.

Between 1981 and 2013, Kohl was head of Sociétés 6, described as the Luxembourg agency responsible for determining how much tax is owed each year by about 50,000, mostly foreign-owned, Luxembourg-registered holding companies.

"I could say 'yes' or 'no,' " Kohl told the WSJ. "Sometimes it's easier if you only have to ask one person." Luxembourg tax advisers have spoken about how foreign companies would troop into his office to get approval for their tax arrangements, which invariably related to booking profit in low-tax Luxembourg from business in other jurisdictions.

What has added spice to Kohl's revelations is that Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission, was Luxembourg's finance minister from 1989, stepping down from the position in 2009, and prime minister between 1995 and 2013. It would be easier for the Commission to address that country's generous tax rulings regime if it were not for this.

Despite the ructions his interview caused, Kohl has kept a low profile since. Indeed the WSJ did not publish a photograph of him and only described him as "a bearded 61-year-old with a ponytail". He has been a lot more forthcoming about his role in facilitating foreign companies' tax arrangements in Luxembourg.

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

more across site & bottom lb ros

More from across our site

Companies in the UAE can prepare for a corporate tax regime in 2023, while the Trump Organization was found guilty of 17 counts of tax fraud.
The companies have criticised proposals for the gig economy, while the UK and EU VAT gaps have fallen in percentage terms, and ITR speaks to a European Commission adviser about its VAT reforms.
Corporations risk creating administrative obstacles if the pillar two rule is implemented too soon, sources say.
Important dates for the Women in Business Law Awards 2023
The Italian government published plans to levy capital gains tax on cryptocurrency transactions, while Brazil and the UK signed a new tax treaty.
Multinational companies fear the scrutiny of aggressive tax audits may be overstepping the mark on transfer pricing methodology.
Standardisation and outsourcing are two possible solutions amid increasing regulations and scrutiny on transfer pricing, say sources.
Inaugural awards announces winners
The UN’s decision to seek a leadership role in global tax policy could be a crucial turning point but won’t be the end of the OECD, say tax experts.
The UN may be set to assume a global role in tax policy that would rival the OECD, while automakers lobby the US to change its tax rules on Chinese materials.