Chapter 8 Are Tax Treaties Worth It for Developing Economies?

Abstract

The complex interaction—and possible overlap—between different tax jurisdictions justifies coordination efforts to avoid double taxation, which can harm international trade and investment. Originally, countries established tax jurisdiction over their own residents and over nonresidents to the extent that they receive income from domestic sources. Tax treaties allocate—and often limit—taxing rights and impose obligations on both contracting states. The core provisions of a tax treaty deal with this allocation function, while other provisions target the elimination of double taxation (for example, through credit or exemption in the residence country) and protection of treaty provisions against tax avoidance schemes. Tax treaties intend to benefit taxpayers residing in either or both contracting states; the extent to which they do ultimately depends, inter alia, on how treaty provisions compare with the domestic law of each country.

Why Reform Is Needed and How It Could Be Designed