The Legal Value of Changes in the OECD Commentary

by Englund, Anna

Abstract (Summary)
In 1993, the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (CFA) formed a Working Group to study the application of the OECD Model Tax Convention (OECD MTC) to partnerships, trusts, and other non-corporate entities. In Issues in International Taxation no 6 – The Application of the OECD Model Tax Convention to Partnerships (OECD Report), different cases involving the issues relating to the taxation of partnerships are discussed. In dealing with these cases the CFA tried to develop general principles. There are several issues involved when discussing the taxation of partnerships. Depending on the circumstances in the actual case different tax issues arise.The OECD Report resulted almost exclusively in making changes in the commentary to the OECD MTC (OECD Commentary) and not in the OECD MTC itself. The only change made in the OECD MTC itself is found in article 23 OECD MTC. The changes made in the OECD Commentary are of two different categories: a) changes that are a direct consequence of the changes in the articles themselves in the OECD MTC, and b) changes that are neither clarifications nor amendments to unchanged articles in the OECD MTC. It is important to make this difference in classification since different consequences are at hand for the OECD Member States (OECD MS).Bilateral tax treaties are part of public international law and therefore, their interpretation is governed by the Vienna Convention of the Law of the Treaties (VCLT). Articles 31-33 VCLT are relevant for treaty interpretation. Since the CFA adopted the above-mentioned method, it is important to analyse if the OECD Commentary and changes made to it can be used as a legal means of interpretation according to the VCLT. It must be determined what legal value the OECD Commentary and the implemented changes have upon the parties to the bilateral treaties in force.The determination of the legal value of the OECD Commentary is an important issue and well discussed in the literature. Since the legal status of the OECD Commentary is debated, it is even more important to discuss the consequences of changes made in the OECD Commentary. The OECD Report has been chosen since this is a good example of resolving tax issues by making changes in the OECD Commentary rather than amending the OECD MTC itself.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:10/03/2005

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