With the OECD from 2012 to 2022, Pascal Saint-Amans electrified tax policy discussions and crafted the global minimum corporate tax and other reforms that will have a profound effect on the global economy in coming years. Now a Brunswick Partner, he talks to Carlton Wilkinson.
In 2021, the Center for Tax Policy, under the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and at the request of G20 leaders, announced an extraordinary accomplishment: 137 countries, representing 92% of the global economy, had signed an international agreement on a tax structure that included the framework for a global minimum corporate tax of 15%.
The new standard is a dramatic move, sweeping aside the last remnants of loose, longstanding rules that allowed corporations to shift revenue earned in a high-tax region to those with lower or no corporate tax requirements. The new proposals were presented as a “two-pillar solution”: The first pillar would reform existing tax policies to shore up existing rules and adapt them to the digital economy, and the second would institute a “floor” of taxation common to all participating nations that would take away the opportunity to relocate operations to avoid taxation.
The moves came after years of policy reforms by members of the G20, including an end to bank secrecy, which facilitated tax evasion and money laundering. While many forces were behind the push, the crafting of the reforms and securing agreements was the responsibility of the Centre for Tax Policy and a team of 250 experts from 50 countries, led since 2012 by Pascal Saint-Amans.
Saint-Amans came to the OECD in 2012. As a student in France, he had been fast-tracked into a role in public policy and administration (“by accident, I ended up in tax,” he says), a course that led him to the French Ministry of Finance. His role there gained him expertise in global diplomacy and negotiations and ultimately led him to the OECD, which has served as a think tank and policy consulting resource for the leaders of developed countries of the world since the 1960s.