Writing Tax Treaty History

HISTORY OF TAX TREATIES, M. Lang, E. Reimer, eds., Nomos, Forthcoming

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/19

17 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2011

See all articles by Richard J. Vann

Richard J. Vann

The University of Sydney Law School


2008 was a significant year for scholars interested in the history of tax treaties. Apart from the Rust tax treaties history conference, the main event was the release of the OECD archives in September when the OECD celebrated the 50th anniversary of the OECD Model (or more accurately the release of the first report of the OEEC that led to the 1963 draft model). An essay on writing tax treaty history thus has an element of chicken and egg about it. Many of the comments may prove to be unnecessary or unfounded in the light of what scholars are producing, and in any event quickly dated. Nonetheless I want to discuss two main topics, how we write tax treaty history and why we write tax treaty history. Although the why should come first and to some extent dictate the how, most scholars currently interested in the topic are lawyers and come to history with a lawyer’s instrumental view of history – we want to understand the history of tax treaties because we are trying to interpret current treaties and think that the history will assist us in the task of interpretation. Hence I will initially assume that this is the why and discuss the writing of tax treaty history with that object in mind. Then I will turn to a series of possible whys, and differences in the way the historian views history writing compared to how lawyers practice it.

Keywords: Double Taxation, History, International Taxation, League of Nations, OECD, Tax Treaties

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33, K34

Suggested Citation

Vann, Richard J., Writing Tax Treaty History. HISTORY OF TAX TREATIES, M. Lang, E. Reimer, eds., Nomos, Forthcoming, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1788603

Richard J. Vann (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

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