Course outline

Interpretation & Application of Tax Treaties – Course Outline

Day 1 – Introduction to tax treaties and OECD and UN models

  • Case studies (throughout the day)
  • Purpose of tax treaties, kinds of treaties, how tax treaties are made, structure of tax treaties
  • Tax treaty terminology
  • Termination of treaties, dates – date of signature, effective date, date of entry into force
  • The OECD and its work in the area of treaties
  • The UN and its work in the area of treaties
  • The OECD model tax treaty [NB At least one-third of the day is spent on this topic]
  • The UN Model compared to the 2017 OECD model tax treaty
  • Review of the US Model Treaty
  • A brief overview of BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) and the MLI (Multilateral Instrument).

Day 2 – Review of tax treaty articles

  • Case studies (throughout the day)
  • Review of most typical tax treaty articles including an introduction to complex treaty issues
  • Treaty articles that vary from the OECD model
    Double taxation – dangers and tax planning opportunities under treaties
  • Reference to the law and practice in specific important countries
  • A brief overview of ATAD (the EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive) as it affects treaties
  • A further review the MLI (Multilateral Instrument)

Day 3 – Advanced treaty issues

  • Case studies (throughout the day)
  • Treaties and various entities – including transparent entities, hybrid entities, trusts, funds, cooperatives, etc., including classification of entities and the issue of residency of such entities
  • Permanent establishment (PE) issues including
    o When does a PE exist (advanced aspects)?
    o The attribution of profits to a PE
    o Transfer of assets between head office and permanent establishment
    o Shipping and aircraft PEs
    o Other selected PE issues
  • Interpretation of treaties
    o The Vienna Convention
    o Main principles
    o Interaction between Article 3(2) and the Vienna Convention
    o The OECD Commentaries
    o Specific country references
    o Current trends
    o Important court decisions and government circulars, etc
    o Update on recent court decisions
  • Beneficial ownership – history and current law and practice in various jurisdictions
  • Extra-territorial taxation of capital gains on the sale of shares, including references to Australia, India, Kazakhstan and China
  • A review of various countries’ digital services tax, ‘Google Tax’, diverted profits tax and the like – and their relationship with treaties
  • A further review of ATAD (the EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive) as it affects treaties
  • The MLI (Multilateral Instrument)
  • Extensive references to the law and practice in specific important jurisdictions