Revisions of the UN Tax Treaty Model – An Introduction to (Global) Inclusion and Equity From the Perspective of Developing States

Svensk skattetidning nr 10 2020, pp. 595-610

16 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2021

See all articles by Yvette Lind

Yvette Lind

Copenhagen Business School - CBS Law

Date Written: January 27, 2021


This paper was specifically written for a Swedish tax journal and its audience. As a result, it assumes that the audience is less knowledgeable about the UN tax treaty model (UN MTC) and the general situation concerning the power relationship between the global north and south compared to, for instance, a Canadian audience. Nevertheless, it aims to provide initial insights in this power relationship and the role and function of the UN MTC.

The UN MTC is often perceived as a reaction, or counterpart, to the OECD MTC as it attempts to level the playing field between developing and developed states when allocating taxing rights. The perspective of developing states is applied as a red thread throughout this paper in order to provide insight into the challenges that these states have been subject to, and the ones they are currently facing in connection to the developments surrounding the digital economy and the BEPS project.

To summarize, the aim of this paper is to describe ongoing changes of the UN MTC, yet in order to truly understand soft law such as the MTC (its background, purpose and the future function of new revisions) one has to apply a holistic approach rather than applying a traditional legal method. As a result, the UN MTC is placed in a broader context, going beyond positive law. This results in the inclusion of supplementary sources besides the central UN material. Due to the prevalence of the OECD MTC and ongoing work at OECD level (primarily the BEPS project project) these sources need to be included as the UN does not act as a lone ranger, but instead is highly influenced by the developments at OECD and G20 level. The historical development of the UN MTC as a counterbalance to the forces of developed states in addition to the current (financial) situation in developing states are additionally fundamental in understanding the revisions.

Keywords: UN tax treaty, UN model tax treaty, digital taxation, tax, equity, global south, developing countries

JEL Classification: F54, K34

Suggested Citation

Lind, Yvette, Revisions of the UN Tax Treaty Model – An Introduction to (Global) Inclusion and Equity From the Perspective of Developing States (January 27, 2021). Svensk skattetidning nr 10 2020, pp. 595-610 , Available at SSRN:

Yvette Lind (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - CBS Law ( email )

Porcelaenshave 18B, 1
Frederiksberg 2000

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