Maurice Collins obituary

Other lives: Distinguished civil servant who worked for the OECD

My father, Maurice Collins, who has died aged 96, had a distinguished civil service career that culminated in work for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations.

Born in West Bridgford, Nottingham, he was the eldest child of Eleanor (nee Connor), and her husband, Thomas Collins. He spent his early childhood in the village of Crondall, Hampshire, but then moved home several times as his father tried to pursue a career as a cricketer. Eventually his parents returned to Nottingham, and he attended West Bridgford County school, where, despite his disrupted education, he became head boy and won a scholarship to Lincoln College, Oxford, to study history.

After a year at Oxford, in 1941 he was called up. In command of an infantry platoon, he landed in Normandy on D-day, and was wounded in fighting near Lingèvres eight days later. After surgery he rejoined his regiment in the spring of 1945, seeing further action in the Netherlands and Germany.

When the second world war ended he returned to Oxford, graduating in 1948, and in the summer of that year he married Jean Kennell, a teacher from Suffolk, whom he had met when they sat in adjacent seats at a performance of Othello in Nottingham. They had two children.

Almost the whole of Maurice’s civil service career was with the Inland Revenue and much of it was concerned with the treaties by which governments tax multinational enterprises. He travelled to many countries to negotiate such agreements, including Pakistan, Singapore, Brazil and South Africa.

From 1979 to 1982 he chaired the working party of the OECD on tax treaties and from 1981 to 1990 he chaired the UN’s Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Co-operation in Tax Matters. Both groups produced model tax treaties, which many pairs of countries have subsequently adopted or used as the basis for their own agreements. He was appointed CBE in 1982, the year he left the civil service.

In retirement Maurice worked on reports for the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation and continued to pursue his interests in gardening, photography and jazz. He read the Guardian every day and attended jazz concerts right until the end of his life.

Jean died in 2014. He is survived by my sister, Alison, and me and by five grandchildren and four great-granddaughters.

Tony Collins

The GuardianTramp

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