Professor Annet Wanyana Oguttu, Professor of Tax Law in the Department of Taxation and the African Tax Institute, has been recognised among a group of trailblazing women who have made significant contributions to the profession. The honour was bestowed by the International Fiscal Association (IFA) at its 2019 annual congress in London during September 2019.
“As we gathered in London we were conscious that 2019 marks 100 years of women being allowed to practice in law and accountancy in many countries around the world and therefore in tax,” stated the Women of IFA Network (WIN). A profile book and photo montage were prepared to celebrate the achievements of women, past and present, who have contributed to and shaped the future of women working in international tax across the profession.
Prof Oguttu was recognised for her contribution to academia and international tax discourse in the areas of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) in Africa and offshore tax avoidance as it relates to South Africa. She is a National Research Foundation (NRF)-rated researcher and specialises in international tax law, in which she has published a seminal book, various book chapters and many accredited articles. She has also written a number of reports on international tax issues commissioned by national and international organisations such as the IFA, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, and the South African Reserve Bank.
Some of the notable roles she has played include being a Commissioner of the South African Law Reform Commission, appointed by the President of South Africa from 2014 to 2018, and being appointed by South Africa’s Minister of Finance since 2013 as a member of the Davis Tax Committee to assess South Africa’s tax system. She is Board President of the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners and a board member of the IFA South Africa branch and the African Tax Research Network.
The photo montage on display at the International Fiscal Association Congress
Commenting on this noteworthy achievement, Prof Oguttu said: “I am very excited and truly humbled by this recognition. Often as academics, we do what is expected of us, which is to research and publish, but when one’s peers nationally and internationally begin to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of one’s work – that is very heart warming. What makes it even more worthwhile, is when the impact of one’s research goes beyond publications and citations, and it impacts on society and the economy.”
She further expressed that she is glad and humbled that her research, particularly under the Davis Tax Committee, has had an impact on South Africa’s fiscal policy and tax legislation that is developed by National Treasury, as well as the implementation of such legislation by SARS. “I am also glad that my research has been recognised by international organisations such as the UN. Thinking about all this makes me realise that as researchers, we have a great responsibility that we often don’t realise. Someone out there could be tracking your publications. We ought to do our work with all due diligence. For me, it is truly an honour to serve our nation and our continent in this way,” she said.
Professor Theuns Steyn, Head of the Department of Taxation congratulated Prof Oguttu, stating: “We are very proud to have a researcher of her calibre in the Department and this is well-deserved recognition of her work.”