Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital: Condensed Version

2074-5419 (online)
2074-3246 (print)
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This publication is the condensed version of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and Capital. This shorter version contains the full text of the Model Tax Convention, but without the historical notes, the detailed list of tax treaties between OECD member countries and the background reports that are included in the full-length loose-leaf and electronic versions.

The Model Tax Convention, and the worldwide network of treaties based on it,  provide clear consensual rules for taxing income and capital across countries, while avoiding having income or capital taxed twice by two different countries. Because the economic and tax environment is constantly changing, articles and commentary in this model convention are periodically updated.

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Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital: Condensed Version 2017

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18 Dec 2017
9789264287952 (PDF) ;9789264287945(print)

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This publication is the tenth edition of the condensed version of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital. This shorter version contains the articles and commentaries of the Model Tax Convention on Income and Capital as it read on 21 November 2017, but without the historical notes and the background reports that are included in the full version.

The full version of the OECD Model Tax Convention for each edition is published separately. It is available in print, PDF and web formats. The web format includes extensive interlinking, making it easy to link from articles to related commentaries. The web and PDF versions will be available via the OECD iLibrary.

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  • Foreword

    This is the tenth edition of the condensed version of the publication entitled Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital, first published in 1992 and periodically updated since then.

  • Introduction

    International juridical double taxation can be generally defined as the imposition of comparable taxes in two (or more) States on the same taxpayer in respect of the same subject matter and for identical periods. Its harmful effects on the exchange of goods and services and movements of capital, technology and persons are so well known that it is scarcely necessary to stress the importance of removing the obstacles that double taxation presents to the development of economic relations between countries.

  • Model Convention with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Commentaries on the Articles of the Model Tax Convention

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    • Commentary on Article 1

      Whereas many conventions concluded in the first part of the 20th century were applicable to “citizens” of the Contracting States, conventions concluded afterwards almost always apply to “residents” of one or both of the Contracting States irrespective of nationality. That approach is reflected in paragraph 1. The term “resident” is defined in Article 4. The fact that a person is a resident of a Contracting State does not mean, however, that the person is automatically entitled to the benefits of the Convention since some or all of these benefits may be denied under various provisions of the Convention, including those of Article 29.

    • Commentary on Article 2

      This Article is intended to make the terminology and nomenclature relating to the taxes covered by the Convention more acceptable and precise, to ensure identification of the Contracting States’ taxes covered by the Convention, to widen as much as possible the field of application of the Convention by including, as far as possible, and in harmony with the domestic laws of the Contracting States, the taxes imposed by their political subdivisions or local authorities, to avoid the necessity of concluding a new convention whenever the Contracting States’ domestic laws are modified, and to ensure for each Contracting State notification of significant changes in the taxation laws of the other State.

    • Commentary on Article 3

      This Article groups together a number of general provisions required for the interpretation of the terms used in the Convention. The meaning of some important terms, however, is explained elsewhere in the Convention. Thus, the terms “resident” and “permanent establishment” are defined in Articles 4 and 5 respectively, while the interpretation of certain terms appearing in the Articles on special categories of income (“income from immovable property”, “dividends”, etc.) is clarified by provisions embodied in those Articles. In addition to the definitions contained in the Article, Contracting States are free to agree bilaterally on definitions of the terms “a Contracting State” and “the other Contracting State”. Furthermore, Contracting States are free to agree bilaterally to include in the possible definitions of “Contracting States” a reference to continental shelves.

    • Commentary on Article 4

      The Article is intended to define the meaning of the term “resident of a Contracting State” and to solve cases of double residence.To clarify the scope of the Article some general comments are made below referring to the two typical cases of conflict, i.e. between two residences and between residence and source or situs. In both cases the conflict arises because, under their domestic laws, one or both Contracting States claim that the person concerned is resident in their territory.

    • Commentary on Article 5

      The main use of the concept of a permanent establishment is to determine the right of a Contracting State to tax the profits of an enterprise of the other Contracting State. Under Article 7 a Contracting State cannot tax the profits of an enterprise of the other Contracting State unless it carries on its business through a permanent establishment situated therein.

    • Commentary on Article 6

      Paragraph 1 gives the right to tax income from immovable property to the State of source, that is, the State in which the property producing such income is situated. This is due to the fact that there is always a very close economic connection between the source of this income and the State of source. Although income from agriculture or forestry is included in Article 6, Contracting States are free to agree in their bilateral conventions to treat such income under Article 7. Article 6 deals only with income which a resident of a Contracting State derives from immovable property situated in the other Contracting State. It does not, therefore, apply to income from immovable property situated in the Contracting State of which the recipient is a resident within the meaning of Article 4 or situated in a third State; the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 21 shall apply to such income.

    • Commentary on Article 7

      This Article allocates taxing rights with respect to the business profits of an enterprise of a Contracting State to the extent that these profits are not subject to different rules under other Articles of the Convention. It incorporates the basic principle that unless an enterprise of a Contracting State has a permanent establishment situated in the other State, the business profits of that enterprise may not be taxed by that other State unless these profits fall into special categories of income for which other Articles of the Convention give taxing rights to that other State.

    • Commentary on Article 8

      The object of paragraph 1 concerning profits from the operation of ships or aircraft in international traffic is to secure that such profits will be taxed in one State alone.The provision is based on the principle that the taxing right shall be left to the Contracting State of the enterprise. The term “international traffic” is defined in subparagraph e) of paragraph 1 of Article 3.

    • Commentary on Article 9

      This Article deals with adjustments to profits that may be made for tax purposes where transactions have been entered into between associated enterprises (parent and subsidiary companies and companies under common control) on other than arm’s length terms. The Committee has spent considerable time and effort (and continues to do so) examining the conditions for the application of this Article, its consequences and the various methodologies which may be applied to adjust profits where transactions have been entered into on other than arm’s length terms. Its conclusions are set out in the report entitled Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations,1 which is periodically updated to reflect the progress of the work of the Committee in this area. That report represents internationally agreed principles and provides guidelines for the application of the arm’s length principle of which the Article is the authoritative statement.

    • Commentary on Article 10

      By “dividends” is generally meant the distribution of profits to the shareholders by companies limited by shares, limited partnerships with share capital, limited liability companies or other joint stock companies. Under the laws of the OECD member countries, such joint stock companies are legal entities with a separate juridical personality distinct from all their shareholders. On this point, they differ from partnerships insofar as the latter do not have juridical personality in most countries.

    • Commentary on Article 11

      “Interest” is generally taken to mean remuneration on money lent, being remuneration coming within the category of “income from movable capital” (revenus de capitaux mobiliers). Unlike dividends, interest does not suffer economic double taxation, that is, it is not taxed both in the hands of the debtor and in the hands of the creditor. Unless it is provided to the contrary by the contract, payment of the tax charged on interest falls on the recipient. If it happens that the debtor undertakes to bear any tax chargeable at the source, this is as though he had agreed to pay his creditor additional interest corresponding to such tax.

    • Commentary on Article 12

      In principle, royalties in respect of licences to use patents and similar property and similar payments are income to the recipient from a letting. The letting may be granted in connection with an enterprise (e.g. the use of literary copyright granted by a publisher or the use of a patent granted by the inventor) or quite independently of any activity of the grantor (e.g. use of a patent granted by the inventor’s heirs).

    • Commentary on Article 13

      A comparison of the tax laws of the OECD member countries shows that the taxation of capital gains varies considerably from country to country

    • Commentary on Article 14 [Deleted]

      Article 14 was deleted from the Model Tax Convention on 29 April 2000 on the basis of the report entitled “Issues Related to Article 14 of the OECD Model Tax Convention” (adopted by the Committee on Fiscal Affairs on 27 January 2000 and reproduced in Volume II of the full version of the OECD Model Tax Convention at page R(16)-1). That decision reflected the fact that there were no intended differences between the concepts of permanent establishment, as used in Article 7, and fixed base, as used in Article 14, or between how profits were computed and tax was calculated according to which of Article 7 or 14 applied. In addition, it was not always clear which activities fell within Article 14 as opposed to Article 7. The effect of the deletion of Article 14 is that income derived from professional services or other activities of an independent character is now dealt with under Article 7 as business profits.

    • Commentary on Article 15

      Paragraph 1 establishes the general rule as to the taxation of income from employment (other than pensions), namely, that such income is taxable in the State where the employment is actually exercised. The issue of whether or not services are provided in the exercise of an employment may sometimes give rise to difficulties which are discussed in paragraphs 8.1 ff. Employment is exercised in the place where the employee is physically present when performing the activities for which the employment income is paid. One consequence of this would be that a resident of a Contracting State who derived remuneration, in respect of an employment, from sources in the other State could not be taxed in that other State in respect of that remuneration merely because the results of this work were exploited in that other State.

    • Commentary on Article 16

      This Article relates to remuneration received by a resident of a Contracting State, whether an individual or a legal person, in the capacity of a member of a board of directors of a company which is a resident of the other Contracting State. Since it might sometimes be difficult to ascertain where the services are performed, the provision treats the services as performed in the State of residence of the company.

    • Commentary on Article 17

      Paragraph 1 provides that entertainers and sportspersons who are residents of a Contracting State may be taxed in the other Contracting State in which their personal activities as such are performed, whether these are of a business or employment nature. This provision is an exception to the rules in Article 7 (over which it prevails by virtue of paragraph 4 of that Article) and to that in paragraph 2 of Article 15, respectively.

    • Commentary on Article 18

      According to this Article, pensions paid in respect of private employment are taxable only in the State of residence of the recipient. Various policy and administrative considerations support the principle that the taxing right with respect to this type of pension, and other similar remuneration, should be left to the State of residence. For instance, the State of residence of the recipient of a pension is in a better position than any other State to take into account the recipient’s overall ability to pay tax, which mostly depends on worldwide income and personal circumstances such as family responsibilities. This solution also avoids imposing on the recipient of this type of pension the administrative burden of having to comply with tax obligations in States other than that recipient’s State of residence.

    • Commentary on Article 19

      This Article applies to salaries, wages, and other similar remuneration, and pensions, in respect of government service. Similar provisions in old bilateral conventions were framed in order to conform with the rules of international courtesy and mutual respect between sovereign States. They were therefore rather limited in scope. However, the importance and scope of Article 19 has increased on account of the fact that, consequent on the growth of the public sector in many countries, governmental activities abroad have been considerably extended. According to the original version of paragraph 1 of Article 19 in the 1963 Draft Convention the paying State had a right to tax payments made for services rendered to that State or political subdivision or local authority thereof. The expression “may be taxed” was used and this did not connote an exclusive right of taxation.

    • Commentary on Article 20

      The rule established in this Article concerns certain payments received by students or business apprentices for the purpose of their maintenance, education or training. All such payments received from sources outside the State in which the student or business apprentice concerned is staying shall be exempted from tax in that State.

    • Commentary on Article 21

      This Article provides a general rule relating to income not dealt with in the foregoing Articles of the Convention. The income concerned is not only income of a class not expressly dealt with but also income from sources not expressly mentioned. The scope of the Article is not confined to income arising in a Contracting State; it extends also to income from third States. Where, for instance, a person who would be a resident of two Contracting States under the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 4 is deemed to be a resident of only one of these States pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 2 or 3 of that Article, this Article will prevent the other State from taxing the person on income arising in third states even if the person is resident of this other State for domestic law purposes (see also paragraph 8.2 of the Commentary on Article 4 as regards the effect of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 4 for purposes of the conventions concluded between this other State and third states).

    • Commentary on Article 22

      This Article deals only with taxes on capital, to the exclusion of taxes on estates and inheritances and on gifts and of transfer duties. Taxes on capital to which the Article applies are those referred to in Article 2.

    • Commentary on Articles 23 A and 23 B

      These Articles deal with the so-called juridical double taxation where the same income or capital is taxable in the hands of the same person by more than one State.

    • Commentary on Article 24

      This Article deals with the elimination of tax discrimination in certain precise circumstances. All tax systems incorporate legitimate distinctions based, for example, on differences in liability to tax or ability to pay. The nondiscrimination provisions of the Article seek to balance the need to prevent unjustified discrimination with the need to take account of these legitimate distinctions. For that reason, the Article should not be unduly extended to cover socalled “indirect” discrimination. For example, whilst paragraph 1, which deals with discrimination on the basis of nationality, would prevent a different treatment that is really a disguised form of discrimination based on nationality such as a different treatment of individuals based on whether or not they hold, or are entitled to, a passport issued by the State, it could not be argued that non-residents of a given State include primarily persons who are not nationals of that State to conclude that a different treatment based on residence is indirectly a discrimination based on nationality for purposes of that paragraph.

    • Commentary on Article 25

      This Article institutes amutual agreement procedure for resolving difficulties arising out of the application of the Convention in the broadest sense of the term.

    • Commentary on Article 26

      There are good grounds for including in a convention for the avoidance of double taxation provisions concerning co-operation between the tax administrations of the two Contracting States. In the first place it appears to be desirable to give administrative assistance for the purpose of ascertaining facts in relation to which the rules of the convention are to be applied. Moreover, in view of the increasing internationalisation of economic relations, the Contracting States have a growing interest in the reciprocal supply of information on the basis of which domestic taxation laws have to be administered, even if there is no question of the application of any particular article of the Convention.

    • Commentary on Article 27

      This Article provides the rules under which Contracting States1 may agree to provide each other assistance in the collection of taxes. In some States, national law or policy may prevent this form of assistance or set limitations to it. Also, in some cases, administrative considerations may not justify providing assistance in the collection of taxes to another State or may similarly limit it.

    • Commentary on Article 28

      The aim of the provision is to secure that members of diplomatic missions and consular posts shall, under the provisions of a double taxation convention, receive no less favourable treatment than that to which they are entitled under international law or under special international agreements.

    • Commentary on Article 29

      As explained in the footnote to the Article, Article 29 reflects the intention of the Contracting States, incorporated in the preamble of the Convention, to eliminate double taxation without creating opportunities for non-taxation or reduced taxation through tax evasion or avoidance, including through treatyshopping arrangements. This intention and the wording of the Article correspond to the minimum standard that was agreed to as part of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project and that is described in paragraph 22 of the report Preventing the Granting of Treaty Benefits in Inappropriate Circumstances, Action 6 - 2015 Final Report.

    • Commentary on Article 30

      Certain double taxation conventions state to what territories they apply. Some of them also provide that their provisions may be extended to other territories and define when and how this may be done. A clause of this kind is of particular value to States which have territories overseas or are responsible for the international relations of other States or territories, especially as it recognises that the extension may be effected by an exchange of diplomatic notes. It is also of value when the provisions of the Convention are to be extended to a part of the territory of a Contracting State which was, by special provision, excluded from the application of the Convention.

    • Commentary on Articles 31 and 32

      The present provisions on the procedure for entry into force, ratification and termination are drafted for bilateral conventions and correspond to the rules usually contained in international treaties.

    • Non-OECD economies' positions on the OECD Model Tax Convention

      When, in 1991, the Committee on Fiscal Affairs adopted the concept of an ambulatory Model Tax Convention, it also decided that because the influence of the Model Tax Convention had extended far beyond the OECD member countries, the ongoing process through which the ModelTax Convention would be updated should be opened up to benefit from the input of non-OECD economies.

    • Recommendation of the OECD Council concerning the Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital

      When, in 1991, the Committee on Fiscal Affairs adopted the concept of an ambulatory Model Tax Convention, it also decided that because the influence of the Model Tax Convention had extended far beyond the OECD member countries, the ongoing process through which the ModelTax Convention would be updated should be opened up to benefit from the input of non-OECD economies.

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