Model tax treaties do matter. The OECD and UN Models constitute precedent books with standard clauses that contracting states can follow or adapt to suit their particular circumstances. The US Model treaty, in contrast, is a statement of intent. The preamble to the revised 2016 US Model Income Tax Convention released by the US Treasury…

Interest and penalty regimes place a high premium on correctly identifying the existence of a permanent establishment in the territory of a state. The failure to do so often means that there is no reporting to the tax administration by the foreign enterprise by way of registration or filing of returns. This is particularly true…

The Spanish National Court has recently ruled (case no. 182/2012) that a Spanish affiliate of Dell that sold Dell computers in Spain under a commissionaire agreement with Dell Ireland constituted a permanent establishment of the Irish group sales company. The decision is in line with earlier Spanish Supreme Court Decisions in Roche Vitamins Europe SA…

The longstanding view on application of the arm’s length principle is that it is generally based on a comparison of the conditions in a controlled transaction with the conditions in transactions between independent enterprises. A transaction, for this purpose, almost always involves a contract. This is because a contract, whether made in writing, orally or…

Everyone concerned with international taxation awaits the publication of the final package of BEPS measures by the OECD on Monday 5 October 2015. While the BEPS programme addresses disparities between national tax systems and features of international tax rules that have allowed some multinational companies to enjoy very low effective corporate tax rates, it is…

In many respects a multilateral tax treaty represents an utopian view of international tax law: a wide consensus among nation states to submit themselves to a common set of rules that govern the levying of taxes across national boundaries. While there have been several examples of attempts at multilateral double taxation treaties, such as the…

The services permanent establishment concept is perhaps the most noteworthy contribution to tax treaties provided by the UN model. The tax treaty concluded by South Africa and the United States in 1997, to replace the one terminated during the apartheid era, has provided an opportunity to consider thorny questions of services and permanent establishments. The…

This week, the United Kingdom Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, has ruled that a UK resident individual member of a Delaware limited liability company is entitled to credit in the UK for US tax on the profits of the LLC. Anson v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [2015] UKSC 44 has rejected…

Article 7(1) of the OECD model treaty is perhaps the most important rule regulating the international taxation of business. It sets out the fundamental basis on which businesses are taxed, that is, the state of residence has the primary right to tax with source state entitlement restricted to taxing the profits of permanent establishments. Source…

Tax treaty rules to resolve the dual residence of persons other than individuals have been consistent since the 1963 OECD draft convention. Such dual residence in resolved by Article 4(3) of the OECD and UN Model Treaties in favour of the place of effective management. Only a very few states have noted reservations on this…

When internationally mobile workers retire, they look to Art 18 of the OECD Model tax treaty to determine their tax treatment if they are private sector workers. Government workers look to Art 19. What about employees of international organisations? Although international civil servants, they work for no government and are outside Art 19. Commonly, treaties…

On 11 February 2015 a US District Court found that the US Internal Revenue Service disclosed false tax return information to the Japanese National Tax Administration contrary to the Japan-US tax treaty in Aloe Vera of America Incorporated, et al. v. United States of America (Case No. CV-99-01794-PHX-JAT). The IRS had supplied information showing a…

The OECD Joint Working Group on Business Restructurings is, in many respects, the precursor to the OECD BEPS project. Unresolved Business Restructuring issues, particularly in relation to permanent establishments, have appeared on the BEPS agenda. One question asked by the Joint Working Group was: Can an agency PE exist if the arrangements entered into did…