The Professional Ethics of US Tax Treaty Interpretation

8 Southern J. Bus. Ethics 237 (2016)

25 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016

Date Written: November 3, 2016

Abstract

The use of tax treaties to obtain Double Non-Taxation for multinational firms as part of aggressive tax avoidance planning is not always ethical conduct for U.S. tax professionals. Under the guidance of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), international standards of tax treaty practice are trending toward substantive methods of interpretation more typical of U.S. tax treaty drafting and interpretation. In a growing number of cases, the use of formalist planning techniques that apply tax treaties without a substantive review may not constitute ethical attorney conduct. This paper explains in detail the interpretational methods underlying the use of tax treaties to obtain Double Non-Taxation. Because tax treaty interpretation is an art and not a science, wide discretion is available to the tax planner. Yet, there are ethical boundaries in interpreting tax treaties to achieve Double Non-Taxation.

Suggested Citation

Bogenschneider, Bret, The Professional Ethics of US Tax Treaty Interpretation (November 3, 2016). 8 Southern J. Bus. Ethics 237 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2879884 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2879884

Bret Bogenschneider (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - School of Law ( email )

United Kingdom

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