|Zach Mider is a new entry this year|
Zach Mider is a campaign finance reporter for Bloomberg who made waves this year by winning the Pulitzer Prize – the most coveted in journalism – for his reporting on US tax inversions.
Why journalists such as Mider win accolades for simply publishing information which has been widely-known for years, sometimes decades, can be mystifying for tax practitioners. However, the true skill of Mider – and most financial journalists, to some degree – is in taking complex financial information, undecipherable to most, and distilling it into something not only understandable but engaging and, if possible, scandalous.
This is not to deny Mider's investigative skills – he has broken more than a few exclusives in recent years – but his ability to open up tax matters to a wide audience is what earns him a spot in the Global Tax 50 2015.
With articles such as 'Unpatriotic Loophole Targeted by Obama Costs $2 Billion' and 'I Hear America Singing 'Never Pay Taxes': The Inversion Operatta', journalists like Mider mean that the public is more conscious of the practices employed by multinationals – and it's fair to say that many of them are not too happy, triggering wider grassroots participation with campaigning organisations, such as those listed on these pages.
These organisations can in turn have a concrete impact on global tax policy. For proof, just look at country-by-country reporting (CbCR) – once a pipe dream of tax campaigners Richard Murphy and John Christensen.
Thus, the 'explanatory journalism' for which Mider was recognised (and there is nothing like a Pulitzer Prize to get the attention of journalists) is becoming more and more important in an era of increasing tax complexity, serving a social function of keeping populations abreast of developments in the tax industry, which used to be the preserve of accountants, lawyers and lawmakers.
Expect to see more journalism like Mider's in the next few years – much of it more inflammatory and less accurate than his work, no doubt – swelling the public's interest in tax justice.