|Pascal Saint-Amans was also in the Global Tax 50 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011|
With 2015 marking the conclusion of the OECD BEPS Project, it was almost inevitable that this year's Global Tax 50 would again include the Frenchman who leads the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA) at the OECD: Pascal Saint-Amans.
Saint-Amans' three years in the role as CTPA director have been dominated by the BEPS Project. The project and its final recommendations drew international attention and immediately prompted legislative changes in many countries around the world.
However, there have also been loud criticisms of the project and its limitations. Some criticisms came from tax campaigners who felt developing countries' interests had been overlooked, while, on the other side, issues were raised by taxpayers who had concerns BEPS legislation would increase instances of double taxation. Recently there has also been push-back from politicians in the US who are concerned BEPS unfairly targets US-based multinationals.
Saint-Amans, speaking with Joelle Jefferis, explains that he is keen to focus on the progress that has been made in a limited timeframe, rather than on hastily-formed judgments and comments on areas of shortcoming.
"But what about the praise?" he asks. "People were sceptical of our ability to deliver anything. What would have happened without this project? There is more consensus now than there was years ago."
After the final recommendations, the OECD's next step will be monitoring implementation of the guidance at a country level. Saint-Amans' concerns over inconsistent and uncoordinated implementation were already made clear when he publicly condemned the UK's unilateral move to implement a diverted profits tax (DPT) ahead of BEPS deliverables, which he said the OECD was "embarrassed" by.
"We have sympathy for the need to move and there is an electoral context [to take into account as well]...on the other hand, unilateral actions are not exactly in the sense of what we are trying to develop," he said in April.
Outside of BEPS, Saint-Amans has led other projects to improve international taxation standards which will continue in 2016. Together with the UN Development Programme, the OECD launched Tax Inspectors Without Borders at July's third financing for development conference in Addis Ababa. This project sends tax officials from OECD countries to work alongside local officials in developing countries, to improve their audit systems and share best practices.
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