The Nature and Purposes of Double Taxation Agreements and the Issues Which the Interpretation of Such Agreements May Give Rise
19 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2012 Last revised: 16 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 9, 2012
The emergence and growth of transnational enterprises have altered the legal and economic relations amongst nations. Increased foreign direct investment and parallel opening up of new economies to foreign investors have made international legal and fiscal arrangements between nations more complex. The direct effect is an increased attention to taxation policies among nations. Double Taxation Agreements/Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements have been extensively used by nations to counter several problems and lessen tax burdens. Both developed and developing nations adopt these treaties to serve their respective needs. This often gives rise to conflict of interests. This article is primarily divided into two sections. The first section deals with the nature and purposes of the Double Taxation Agreements. The unique character of double taxation conventions make them serve a dual purpose as they become binding agreements between States under public international law and are also incorporated in the domestic law of the Contracting States. The dichotomy between domestic and international law gives rise to some problems which I have addressed below. We shall also see the extent to which these bilateral agreements have been successful in achieving its purposes. The second section deals with issues of interpretation that emanate from these bilateral treaties. This shall include the general approach to interpretation including the one under The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the impact of Article 3(2) of the OECD Model Convention and some other issues relating to Model Conventions and Commentaries.
Keywords: Double Taxation Agreements, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements, Nature, Purpose, Interpretation
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