ITR Global Tax 50 2022: Alex Cobham
Chief executive of Tax Justice Network
Alex Cobham has long played a key role in tax justice campaigning, particularly when it comes to tax evasion and avoidance, as well as flagging illicit financial flows.
Over the years, he has taken part in political discussions around tax issues around the world. Some included opinion pieces criticising Britain’s low corporate tax model and how to end tax abuse in a “simple and fair way”.
He joined the Tax Justice Network – an advocacy group that brings researchers and activists together – as director of research in January 2015. A year later, Cobham became chief executive at the organisation.
On the global stage, the OECD is at a difficult place in finding a consensus around pillar one and two, as some jurisdictions are pushing back on the endorsement of the tax deal – and Cobham has condemned the organisation’s failure to do so.
He also supports the UN’s planned takeover as a leader in global tax policy.
In October 2022, Cobham said a UN tax convention could reshape negotiations on international tax matters on the digital economy.
The following month, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of a new tax convention proposed by African countries.
The UN seems keen to take the reins on global tax, which could change the direction of the OECD’s objectives.
“It could move rule-making on global tax from the OECD to the UN, finally lifting the grip that former colonial powers have continued to exert over global tax rules,” Cobham told ITR.