A well-designed regional tax treaty to which developing countries are signatories will include provisions securing minimum withholding taxes on investment income and technical service fees, a taxing right in respect of capital gains from indirect offshore transfers, and guarding against-treaty shopping. A tax treaty policy framework—national or regional—that specifies the main policy outcomes to be achieved before negotiations commence would enable developing countries with more limited expertise and lower capacity for tax treaty negotiations to avoid concluding problematic tax treaties. This note provides guidance for members of regional economic communities in the developing world on what should and should not be included in a regional tax treaty and how to design on a common tax treaty policy framework for use in negotiations of bilateral tax treaties with nonmembers.
This paper explores that in developing economies, sufficient tax revenue is necessary to finance spending on health care, education, and infrastructure—all of which are prerequisites for economic growth and development. However, it is not simply the revenue ratio that matters; the quality of the revenue system is also essential for delivering fair and efficient outcomes. To design a revenue system that fosters sustainable economic and social development and enjoys broad public support, it is essential for tax reform proposals to be carefully assessed, quantitatively analyzed, and openly debated. This requires that decision makers and all stakeholders in the debate have access to the best available facts, data, and independent evidence-based analysis, including about the impact of tax reforms on revenue, the income distribution, and economic performance. The central institutional actor in the decision making process—the executive—is best supported in this process by what is generally called a tax policy unit (TPU). TPUs are tasked to guide and inform the tax policy debate, based on facts, independent data analysis, and multidisciplinary efforts.