The Big Picture -- 2012

13 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2013

Date Written: October 1, 2012


This document contains four installments of "The Big Picture," a column published in Tax Analysts, International Tax Notes, Volumes 66-68 (2012). The first installment, "Putting Arbitration on the MAP: Thoughts on the New U.N. Model Tax Convention," discusses the addition of mandatory arbitration to the UN Model Tax Treaty and argues that what is contemplated is not really arbitration as such but more in the nature of expert determination, and that the provisions exact high costs, especially on developing countries (which should be wary about signing tax treaties with rich countries in any event).

The second, "Do We Need to Know More About Our Public Companies?" discusses the problem of public opacity in the global tax dealings of multinationals, introduces readers to the corporate tax transparency provisions enacted in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010, and argues that publicity of high-profile tax dodging and offshore cash-hoarding makes the case for greater public accountability by multinationals.

The third, "Could a Same-Country Exception Help Focus FATCA and FBAR?" discusses the recent US crackdown on offshore tax evasion, and introduces readers to the likely inadvertent application of this regime to millions of dual-citizens who live and work overseas and thus have bank accounts overseas as well. It proposes a move toward the global standard of residence-based taxation, incrementally if necessary, to ensure the FATCA and FBAR target hits the intended mark.

The fourth and final instalment of 2012, "Measuring a Fair Share," discusses what politicians mean and what they overlook when they say that taxpayers ought to "pay a fair share"; it argues that in failing to adequately define who ought to be considered a taxpayer and what ought to be considered their available resources, governments have essentially constructed an arbitrary and ultimately unjust parameter around the discussion of what fairness means in taxation.

Keywords: taxation, tax policy, international tax, arbitration, mutual agreement, treaties, developing countries, multinationals, disclosure, transparency, EITI, corporate tax, dodd-frank, FATCA, FBAR, tax evasion, fairness, equity, tax justice, citizenship, residence

JEL Classification: H11, H21, H87, F02, F5, F53, F59, Z13, E63, H2, K33, K34, N4, P45

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, The Big Picture -- 2012 (October 1, 2012). Tax Notes International, Volumes 66-68, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec

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