When is a taxpayer a resident of a contracting state for purposes of a tax treaty? The decades old definition in article 4(1) of the OECD Model that ‘“resident of a Contracting State” means any person who, under the laws of that State, is liable to tax therein by reason of his domicile, residence, place…

Tax authorities have relied on informers for investigative leads perhaps since taxes were first imposed. In the 21st Century high profile cases of theft of taxpayer information by employees of service providers including banks and professional firms have provided data not only of interest to tax authorities but also as a driver of international tax…

The relationship between treaties and domestic tax law ought to be straightforward. The pacta servanda sunt principle expressed in articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties itself implies that treaty obligations must be upheld notwithstanding domestic law. A variety of constitutional arrangements around the world mean that there is…

HMRC v Embiricos [2020] UKUT 370 (TC) reflects a common issue that arises in connection with tax investigations or audits of internationally mobile individuals. Mr Embiricos  filed his tax returns on the basis that he was resident, but not domiciled in the UK. On that basis, he was entitled to the remittance basis of taxation….

The newly concluded Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and UK has limited provisions concerning taxation, but interesting provisions relevant to interpretation of treaties including good faith. The Agreement does not seek to replicate many of the rights which UK citizens and businesses had under EU law. There is no general non-discrimination provision. Double…

Case law on thepurpose of transactions is starting to develop around the world. Is there a common pattern? Whether a financing structure was a “tax avoidance arrangement”  under  now repealed general anti-avoidance provisions of the New Zealand Income Tax Act 2004  was examined last month by the New Zealand Court of Appeal in Commissioner of…

Those with a long memory for cricketing events may remember the 1996 World Cup hosted jointly by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The winner, Sri Lanka, made 398 runs for 5 wickets, in a one-day international match, a record that stood until April 2006. South Africa’s Gary Kirsten scored 188 runs, not out, against the…

Following the Supreme Court decision in Fowler v HMRC [2020] UKSC 22, the UK First-tier Tribunal has considered another case where classification of a source of income for tax treaty purposes was in issue. This time the question was classification as business profit or income from immovable property in the Canada-UK double tax treaty. In…

In last month’s blog I promised to address the treaty aspects of  Davies and Others v HMRC [2020] UKUT 67 (TCC). The case concerned UK resident individuals who each took out a life insurance policy with a Bermuda insurer under which their entitlements were linked to a Mauritian company that developed land in the UK….

We have all become familiar with the expression in the PPT set out in article 7(1) of the MLI and article 29(9) of the 2017 OECD Model  where “obtaining that benefit was one of the principal purposes of any arrangement or transaction”.  Discerning which is a principal purpose is one of the main challenges in…

In my last blog, I looked at the immediate impact of Covid 19 Lockdowns on key elements of double tax treaties – residence, permanent establishment and employment income. Many tax administrations have published guidance on their approach to these issues. Indeed, almost immediately after the OECD also published helpful comment on them too. The general…

Measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus have impacted on every aspect of life. While the degree of enforced isolation and immobility varies from country to country, the basic elements remain the same: Most people are compelled to stay at home and to work from there if possible. The speed with which the pandemic has…

The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has upheld the Tax Court of Canada decision in Canada v. Alta Energy Luxembourg S.A.R.L., 2020 FCA 43 (CanLII).   The case is of some significance because the Canadian Revenue Agency (“CRA”) sought to apply the Canadian domestic general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) in order to deny treaty relief. The…