Course outline

Interpretation & Application of Tax Treaties – Course Outline

Day 1 – Introduction to tax treaties including the OECD, UN and US models – and the MLI

  • Case studies (throughout the day)
  • Purpose of tax treaties, kinds of treaties, how tax treaties are made, structure of tax treaties
  • Termination of treaties; dates – date of signature, effective date, date of entry into force
  • The OECD and its work in the area of tax treaties
  • The UN and its work in the area of tax treaties
  • Tax treaty terminology
  • The OECD model tax treaty
  • The 2021 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), including the MLI, and ATAD as regards treaties.
    • BEPS – Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
    • MLI – Multilateral Instrument
    • ATAD – the EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive

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 2017 model
  • Double taxation – dangers and tax planning opportunities under treaties

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
    • When does a PE exist (advanced aspects)
    • The attribution of profits to a PE
    • Transfer of assets between head office and permanent establishment
    • Shipping and aircraft PEs
    • Other selected PE issues
  • Interpretation of treaties
    • The attribution of profits to a PE
    • The effect of the ‘Purpose’ texts in the MLI
    • Main principles
    • Interaction between Article 3(2) and the Vienna Convention
    • The OECD Commentaries
    • Specific country reference
  • 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)