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Conventions on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD signed in Paris on December 14, 1960, represents a significant milestone in international tax cooperation. The OECD was originally established in 1948 to oversee the distribution of aid under the Marshall Plan for the post-World War II reconstruction of Europe. Over the years, this convention has grown in importance, with 38 countries currently being party to it. Among these, 20 are considered “founder” members, and 18 subsequently joined, recognizing the critical role the OECD plays in the global economic landscape. 

Importance of OECD

The primary objective behind the formation of the OECD was to enhance the global economy and promote international trade. It serves as a platform for governments from various countries to collaborate on finding solutions to common economic challenges and create a framework for mutually beneficial cooperation.

OECD and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement

The OECD has long acknowledged the need to address the issues related to double taxation and fiscal clarity for taxpayers engaged in commercial, industrial, financial, and other activities across borders. To achieve this goal, the OECD has developed the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital, commonly known as the OECD Model. This model provides a standardized framework for addressing the most common challenges in the realm of international double taxation.

The OECD Model encompasses articles and commentaries, the positions of non-member economies, recommendations from the OECD Council, historical notes, and background reports. The model is regularly updated to incorporate changes in international tax standards. Furthermore, it provides a model for Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) that member countries can use when negotiating bilateral tax agreements.

Key Provisions Under the Model DTAA

The OECD has designed model tax treaties to assist countries in their negotiations of bilateral tax agreements. Here are key features of DTAA agreements based on the OECD model:

  1. Purpose: DTAAs aim to prevent double taxation of income earned by individuals or companies in two countries.
  2. Coverage: DTAAs address various taxes on income, including personal income tax, corporate income tax, and capital gains tax.
  3. Residency: DTAAs specify rules for determining an individual’s or company’s residency for tax purposes, as taxation depends on the taxpayer’s residence.
  4. Taxation of Business Profits: These agreements clarify how business profits are taxed in both countries, often giving priority to the country where the business has a permanent establishment.
  5. Dividends, Interest, and Royalties: DTAAs typically establish maximum tax rates for dividends, interest, and royalties paid from one country to another, varying by income type and recipient.
  6. Capital Gains: DTAAs also address the taxation of capital gains from the sale of assets such as property or shares, specifying the country responsible for taxation.
  7. Non-Discrimination: These agreements often include a non-discrimination clause to ensure that residents of one country are not subject to heavier taxation than residents of another country in similar circumstances.
  8. Mutual Agreement Procedure: DTAAs provide a mechanism for resolving disputes between the tax authorities of the two countries.

In summary, DTAA agreements among OECD member countries aim to foster cross-border trade and investment by eliminating double taxation and offering increased tax certainty for taxpayers.

Key Takeaway

This convention emphasizes critical elements of international tax cooperation. It enables automatic exchange of information, spontaneous exchange of information, and service of documents in other member countries. Furthermore, it allows for the exchange of historical information in criminal tax matters.

For expert legal counsel and guidance regarding the OECD conventions and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chandrawat & Partners. Our team of legal experts specializes in international tax agreements and is committed to providing tailored legal support to meet your specific needs. We are dedicated to delivering high-quality legal services, ensuring your satisfaction and peace of mind. If you have inquiries or wish to discuss your legal concerns, please contact us. We are here to serve your legal requirements with professionalism and diligence.

To know more about DTAA relations between India and Organisation For Economic Co-operation and Development Member Countries, please download our Guide.