|Kim Jacinto-Henares is a new entry this year|
2015 was a busy year for Kim Jacinto-Henares, commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the Philippines. Her country became a member of the global forum on BEPS, it was invited to participate in the work of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs, the OECD group that sets the organisation's tax agenda, and the commissioner became a member of the UN Committee of Tax Experts.
On top of that, she was nominated by her government to be one of the vice-chairpersons of OECD Working Party 15, the group set up to negotiate the multilateral instrument to incorporate the BEPS recommendations into existing bilateral tax treaties.
"Not only were we busy here with domestic revenue mobilisation, but I found myself out of the country a lot," she says.
The commissioner believes agreement on the multilateral instrument will be possible for the 44 countries that participated in the BEPS negotiations, but is not sure about any other jurisdiction.
"All the other countries are not bound by the instrument," she says. "Will other countries agree to it? It won't be a problem for the 44, but there is a lot to be discussed."
She adds that the talks on the multilateral instrument cannot be used to go back over what was agreed by the BEPS working parties: "We fought over every comma, every period. You cannot go back."
The Philippines did not commit to implement anything that emerged from the BEPS process. "We participated on the very clear understanding that we would not be bound by it," says Jacinto-Henares. "We would not have agreed to participate if we were bound. We didn't want to be in the same situation with exchange of information, where an agreement was made and we were bound by it, finding ourselves on blacklists and the like. We don't want to be surprised in the future. This was made very clear to everyone: you made the agreement not us."
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