The first semester of 2018 has witnessed notable – if not unprecedented – activity in the area of tax policy, in the EU as well as internationally. The wind of change tha we sense in international taxation the last decade is evidently becoming stronger and stronger, while its direction remains largely undefined. The CFE Tax…

What the UK government wants by way of Brexit outcome seems to change daily, with the government and political parties in Parliament divided among various factions. The only legal certainty about Brexit is that unless the UK and the remaining member states agree otherwise, EU law will cease to apply in the UK after 29…

For many years, I have been advocating a drastic change in the distribution approach for taxing rights in international taxation. The focus of my criticism has been Article 7 of the OECD and UN Model Conventions.  My core argument continues to be that the so-called “permanent establishment principle” disregards the role of the infrastructure that…

Article 13.1 of the double tax treaty (DTT) signed between Luxembourg and Spain authorizes Spain to tax gains from the alienation of shares in a company whose assets consist principally of immovable property in Spain, with no exceptions for properties engaged in economic activities. Let us look at a scenario where a Luxembourg company makes…

There is only one legal certainty about Brexit. On 29 March 2019 EU law will cease to apply in the United Kingdom, as a result of the UK having given notice of withdrawal on 29 March 2017. This is clear from Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union. Draft withdrawal agreement A Draft Agreement…

The first common EU list of non cooperative tax jurisdictions – commonly referred as the EU black list – was released on 05 December 2017. It included seventeen offshore countries: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macao SAR, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United…

On 21 March, just a few days after the publication of the (frankly not exciting) OECD report on the tax challenges of digitalization, the European Commission presented its own “package” on the taxation of the digital economy. This comprises: (a) a proposal for a Directive on the corporate taxation of a “significant digital presence”, or…

On 6 March 2018, the CJEU has issue its judgment on the case Achmea BV (C-284/16 here), that can impact many areas of the EU law, including tax matters. The Court states that “Articles 267 and 344 TFEU must be interpreted as precluding a provision in an international agreement concluded between Member States, such as Article 8…

On 6 March 2018 the Grand Chamber of the CJEU ruled in the Achmea decision (C-284/16) that the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between The Netherlands and the Slovak Republic violated EU law because it allowed an arbitral tribunal to interpret provisions of EU law in a dispute between investors and (Member) States, while such interpretation…

Increased focus on taxation of cross-border situations involving both individuals and companies is one of the key features of the post-BEPS international tax environment. One central aspect of this is increased administrative cooperation between tax administrations in exchange of information and assistance in recovery of taxes. Territoriality principle Recent UK decisions have emphasised the need…

On 21 March, the European Commission will publish a proposal for a two-fold strategy to reform the taxation of digital companies like Google and Facebook. The most recent draft of the proposal that has been distributed on March 15 suggests that one should lower one’s expectations. Last autumn, a group of EU Finance Ministers propelled…

The Spanish Supreme Court recently issued (February 19, Spanish version here) a long awaited judgment confirming that the Spanish inheritance tax legal framework breaches the free movement of capital when taxing non-EU residents on Spanish assets received through inheritance. The origin of this discrimination is the Spanish regional inheritance taxation system, under which Spanish regions…

Among the main issues the BEPS project intends to address is the phenomenon of “double non-taxation”. It is a term that is used quite frequently nowadays; primarily in order to describe situations that are considered as problematic from a policy perspective. However, not all situations where something remains untaxed provoke public outrage. As, for example,…

A Directive on Tax Dispute Resolution was adopted by European Member States early in October 2017. It had been proposed by the European Commission 1 year ago as part of the Corporate Tax Reform Package, along with the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) and the amendment of the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) regarding hybrid…