|Rita de la Feria is a new entry this year|
Rita de la Feria was the chair in tax law at Durham Law School until January 1 and has been at the forefront of efforts to bring together a community of current experts and budding talents in the study of international tax. The Portuguese native specialises in tax policy, VAT and EU constitutional law, juggling her academic commitments with involvements in a multitude of other areas.
And 'juggling' is definitely the right word; de la Feria kept a number of balls in the air during 2015, hosting events at Durham – including May's well-attended VAT conference – and contributing to research papers (for example in connection with the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK's largest research-funding organisation; and in collaboration with Oxford University's Michael Devereux, with whom she proposed the destination-based corporate tax principle) as well as travelling the world to ensure her voice was being heard and her expertise was being shared as widely as possible.
As part of this, and further testament to her influence, de la Feria announced in November that she had taken on an additional role as a tax adviser to the government of East Timor, helping capacity building efforts in the country as part of a team responsible for drafting a new VAT law.
"A stable source of revenue for the country. Very excited," she said on Twitter.
De la Feria has also played an active role in helping to eradicate the gender imbalance in tax, including criticising previous editions of the Global Tax 50 for being too male-dominated.
She has now called time on her three and a half year stint at Durham, taking up a similar role as chair in tax law at the University of Leeds School of Law on January 1. Though she may be in slightly different surroundings, de la Feria will surely remain a vocal and influential academic figure in the tax world throughout 2016 and beyond.
She tweets using the handle @delaFeriaR.