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Global Tax 50 2016: Orrin Hatch

Chairman of the US Senate Finance Committee; chair of the US Congress Joint Committee on Taxation

Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch was also in the Global Tax 50 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011

Orrin Hatch is the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate, having first taken office in 1977. With many years of experience, he is an important figure within his party and to the committees that he leads, but has also made his mark on several important tax issues that will continue to be of great importance in 2017.

Before being re-elected in November 2016, Hatch said that this would be his last term, but with many people asking him to consider running for office again in 2018, his importance to politics, finance and taxation is clear. "I have a lot of people pressuring meto [run again], because they know what I can do. And they know that as chairman of the Finance Committee, we make a real difference around here," Hatch said in the aftermath of the election. "I'll honestly look at it, as much as I can."

Part of the reason he makes his Global Tax 50 debut is that, since November's US elections, the Republican Party controls the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Given that one of President-Elect Donald Trump's first objectives in office will be to introduce a tax reform, a steady hand such as Hatch's will be invaluable.

"We are seeing more momentum for comprehensive tax than we've seen in a generation or more," Hatch said. "We have a real opportunity to make significant changes to our entire tax system in order to encourage growth, create more jobs, and improve the lives of individuals and families around our country. As the chairman of the Senate's tax-writing committee, I am very excited for this opportunity and I am committed to doing all I can to make sure that we succeed in this endeavour."

What is also notable is how productive the 114th US Congress, which lasted from 2015 to 2016, was. In its previous term – before Hatch took the reins – it had been largely, and very publicly, gridlocked due to political wrangling. This productivity was made possible by bipartisan work by Democratic and Republican representatives.

"The Senate Finance Committee, which I've been privileged to chair for the past two years, has, to a historic degree, been able to ride this new wave of bipartisan productivity," Hatch said. "We also made serious strides to advance a number of the committee's long-term efforts, including… a series of measures to protect taxpayers from the ever-increasing threat of identity theft and tax refund fraud."

The 115th Congress, which will run from January 3 2017 until November 2018, was earmarked on both sides of aisle as one that would include much-needed tax reform in the US. Under Hatch, Congress set up tax reform working groups in 2015 that have laid much of the groundwork necessary for the mammoth task ahead.

Hatch's work in the Senate Finance Committee should also not be ignored. He spearheaded a major tax bill that implemented a large number of tax provisions, which previously required frequent renewal, thereby giving valuable certainty to businesses. It set the stage for "even more significant reforms in the future", said Hatch.

As for the direction of the tax reform – which is discussed in more detail in the Global Tax 50 entries for Donald Trump and Paul Ryan – one can safely assume that tax rates will fall. Hatch's own proposal for tax reform included allowing businesses to deduct dividends from taxable earnings, thereby eliminating 'double taxation' of the same earnings and hopefully reducing the number of corporate inversions of US multinationals.

Over the next few years, Hatch may prove to be a crucial ally for Trump as the US implements its long-awaited tax reform.

The Global Tax 50 2016
View the full list and introduction
The top 10 • Ranked in order of influence
1. Margrethe Vestager2. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
3. Brexit4. Arun Jaitley
5. Jacob Lew6. Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet
7. Operation Zealots8. Guy Verhofstadt
9. Theresa May (and the 'three Brexiteers')10. Donald Trump
The remaining 40 • In alphabetic order
Kemi AdeosunPiet Battiau
Elise BeanMonica Bhatia
Allison ChristiansTim Cook
Rita de la FeriaCaroline Flint
Judith FreedmanChrystia Freeland
Pravin GordhanOrrin Hatch
Meg HillierMulyani Indrawati
Lou JiweiPaul Johnson
Stephanie JohnstonChris Jordan
Pravind JugnauthWang Jun
Jean-Claude JunckerKathleen Kerrigan
Christine LagardeWerner Langen
Jolyon MaughamAngela Merkel
Narendra ModiWill Morris
Michael NoonanGrace Perez-Navarro
Platform for the Collaboration on TaxDonato Raponi
Pascal Saint-AmansHeather Self
Robert Stack Tax Justice Network
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Transparency International
US Committee on Ways and MeansRodrigo Valdés

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