|Achim Pross is a new entry this year|
"2015 was probably the busiest in a series of already busy years," admits Pross.
And it is hard to argue with him when you consider his 2015 workload, which included: five BEPS actions to deliver, keeping the CRS implementation on track and delivering the information exchange and IT infrastructure to help translate BEPS policy outcomes, such as country-by-county (CbC) reporting, into a tax administration reality. But Pross wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's the varied role here that is the most fun and the most challenging, ranging across the full spectrum of international tax policy and tax administration," he says. "It may be the dark web and fighting financial crime at one moment, finding a consensus on patent boxes the next, dealing with a tax administration issue and then issuing detailed CRS implementation guidance later in the day."
The influence of Pross and his colleagues during the past 12 months is unquestionable when you consider the far-reaching impact of the BEPS Project alone. The scale of their achievement is matched by their sense of pride and accomplishment, says Pross.
"We helped design, develop and now deliver two big waves of international tax policy redesign, first on automatic exchange of information (AEoI), and then on BEPS. Having been part of a small team and driven several aspects of this work at a time of unique changes in the international tax landscape has made the last year immensely rewarding."
The breadth of jurisdictional involvement in the AEoI and BEPS initiatives is a particular achievement which Pross highlights.
"Having done this with all OECD and G20 countries working together and with real tangible impact around the world is probably the biggest achievement," says Pross.
The workload for Pross and his division – which is responsible for, among other things: exchange work, including CRS automatic exchange, exchange of rulings, CbC work, TRACE (the treaty relief and compliance enhancement initiative); BEPS actions on harmful tax practices, interest, hybrids, mandatory disclosure and CFC work; the work of the Forum on Tax Administration; work on serious non-compliance which links to OECD work on illicit flows; and the Multilateral Convention on Administrative Assistance and related competent authority signings, such as for CRS and CbC exchange – shows no sign of letting up.
The new year is already off to a busy start, with a signing ceremony on January 27 for more than 30 countries that have agreed to CbC exchanges. The event in Paris represents the first signing ceremony for adherence to the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement, which will facilitate automatic exchange of CbC reports called for in the BEPS Project.