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Grace Perez-Navarro

As a leading figure at the OECD, Grace Perez-Navarro has been included in this year's Global Tax 50 for the integral role she has played in the progress of the BEPS project, raising the standards of international tax and promoting better tax policies as part of a multilateral approach.

Grace Perez-Navarro
Grace Perez-Navarro was also in the Global Tax 50 2016

Before joining the OECD, Perez-Navarro began her career at the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) where she was responsible for coordinating guidance on international tax, overseeing litigation and information exchange agreements. She moved on to the OECD in 1997 and has held several key positions since, covering such areas as tax and e-commerce, banking secrecy, as well as harmful tax practices, corruption and money laundering.

International Tax Review spoke with Perez-Navarro about her work as the deputy director of the OECD's Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and what may be coming up in 2018.

"The main things I've been working on over the past year relate to supporting the 102 countries and jurisdictions that have joined the inclusive framework on BEPS," she said. "We've recently published the first set of peer review reports on Action 14, as well as the outcome of the review of 146 preferential regimes under Action 5 on addressing harmful tax practices. The other area of focus has been enhancing tax certainty. And finally, ratcheting up our work on the digital economy."

The implementation of the BEPS recommendations has been at the core of Perez-Navarro's work in 2017. The aim is to bring all the countries on an equal footing for the long term future as part of the organisation's 'better policies for better lives' approach.

"The BEPS project has put international tax very high on the political agenda. This means there has been a stronger political will to address BEPS and to implement these measures," Perez-Navarro says. "I think it's had the effect of pushing governments and companies to address these issues, especially around corporate governance and managing risks around tax planning."

One of the major developments in the BEPS project this year was the signing of the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) on June 7 2017. The next steps will be taken over the course of 2018 as many of the changes to tax treaties come into effect over the next couple of years. This will set the stage for decades of tax policy to come.

"The MLI has had tremendous take-up already and 71 countries have already signed. We've had our first ratification with Austria and others will soon follow," Perez-Navarro says. "We have around 20 other countries in the pipeline to sign up shortly. There is a lot of interest among countries in updating their tax treaties in an efficient way. This is one of the issues that we are discussing in our tax treaty group, how we can maximise its use."

"We will be considering its use as we go forward. It is one of our recent success stories and it is helping countries implement changes to treaties in a swift manner."

Another key focus for the OECD's Centre for Tax Policy and Administration is the question of tax certainty and how to best alleviate it for governments and taxpayers alike. This is an area of huge importance given the heightened levels of uncertainty over tax policy in recent years. Many corporations have feared the implications of the BEPS project and the OECD has responded by holding forums to engage taxpayers.

"A lot of things have come out of our forum on tax administration, where tax administrations work together on innovative projects like joint audits to help taxpayers get much more certainty and not have to go through a dispute resolution process," Perez-Navarro says. "Governments are working much more closely together to tackle BEPS and enhancing their cooperation to improve dispute resolution, as reflected in the interest in the tax certainty project."

This newfound level of multilateralism will surely mean more work for Perez-Navarro and the OECD, as taxpayers and countries make the adjustments necessary to deal with BEPS, in the new year.

The Global Tax 50 2017
View the full list and introduction
The top 10 • Ranked in order of influence
1. US Tax Reform Big 62. Dawn of the robots
3. The breakdown of global consensus4. The fifth estate
5. Margrethe Vestager6. Arun Jaitley
7. Sri Mulyani Indrawati8. Pascal Saint-Amans and Achim Pross
9. Richard Murphy10. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
The remaining 40 • In alphabetic order
Tomas BalcoPiet Battiau
Monica Bhatia Blockchain
Rasmus Corlin ChristensenSeamus Coffey
Jeremy CorbynRufino de la Rosa
Fabio De Masi The Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union
Maria Teresa Fabregas Fernandez The fat tax
Maya ForstaterBabatunde Fowler
The GE/PwC outsourcing deal The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)Meg Hillier
Chris JordanWang Jun
James KaranjaBruno Le Maire
John Pombe Joseph MagufuliCecilia Malmström
The Maltese presidency of the EU CouncilPaige Marvel
Theresa MayAngela Merkel
Narendra ModiPierre Moscovici
The European Parliament Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) The Paris Agreement
Grace Perez-NavarroAlexandra Readhead
Heather Self TaxCOOP
Tax Justice NetworkDonald Trump
United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters WU Global Tax Policy Center

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