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Tax practitioners react to International Tax Review’s Global Tax 50

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International Tax Review’s Global Tax Top 50 has been as controversial as ever.

Entries include Palaniappan Chidambaram, the Indian Finance Minister; David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the UK Treasury; the TEI Global tax Advocacy Taskforce; Algirdas Semeta, tax commissioner for the EU; UK Uncut and the Occupy movements; and Twitter, among a whole host of other global tax influencers.

While the list only runs to 50, the list of influencers in global tax is growing all the time.

Martin Hearson, former tax policy adviser for ActionAid, wrote a list of the five people he felt were missing, including Armando Lara Yaffar, chairman of the UN’s Committee of Experts (tax) and Tizhong Liao, China’s member of the same group; Margaret Hodge of the UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee; Savior Mwamba from Zambian NGO Center for Trade Policy and Development; Masatsugu Asakawa and Michelle Levac, who chair the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs and the Working Party No 6 on intangibles, respectively;.

Tizhong Liao is the deputy director general of international taxation at the Chinese State Administration for Tax and his influence during the UN Committee of Expert meetings and the drafting of the practical manual on transfer pricing was evident. His arguments were strong and reasoned, explaining that developing countries, in particular the BRICS, were not being fairly represented because some decisions were being based on the previous committee, whose members were different.

Reaction on LinkedIn said women were not sufficiently represented in the top 50 list. “Four women out of 50. Five if I count the woman on top of the Wall Street bull, which is not a fair addition,” said one respondent.

While this is again a fair comment, if you look at some of the organisations mentioned, which have women in the lead, such as Janice Lucchesi of TEI and Elaine Kamarck of the Rate Coalition, we have done slightly better.

Marlies de Ruiter, head of the OECD’s tax treaties, transfer pricing and financial transactions division, would have been a worthy inclusion, along with Levac, of the Canada Revenue Agency, mentioned above.

LinedIn commentators also suggested Christine Lagarde, director of the IMF, instead of Nicolas Sarkozy: “after all she was the finance minister in his government and she is now playing a more important role than him on taxes (at least for the world) with her job at the IMF” and Angela Merkel for work trying to get a more tax-consistent Europe.

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