The IBFD’s Knowledge Centre regularly releases White Papers, which result from extensive research conducted by IBFD’s research staff. These Papers aim to enlighten the international tax community on matters of significant interest. Although all relevant aspects were critically analysed, your feedback is always welcome.
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White Papers currently available:
Customs Value and VAT Base – A Match Made in Heaven?
A Snapshot of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Remedy for Tyranny: Statehood as a Solution to Taxation without Representation in Washington, DC
Incorrect system of reference: ECJ overrules Commission decision on German restructuring clause
Latvia: Individual Income Tax Rules for Virtual Currency Transactions
BEPS in Latin America (Part II): A review of the implementation of Actions 2, 3, 4 and 12
McDonald’s – Limits on State Aid Control in Tax Ruling Investigations
Closing the VAT Gap
Tax Ghosts: Spectres of the Shadow Economy
Tax ghosts, those dispiriting spooks of the fiscal system, are persistent spectres in the shadow economy. In this White Paper, the author describes various types of tax ghosts, discusses their impact, outlines current ghostbusting strategies and reviews the OECD’s recent recommendations for further work. View this White Paper
Taxing Social Media Income – The Dutch Perspective
In this White Paper, the authors explain how social media content creators (bloggers, vloggers and YouTubers) earn money and outline potential consequences of social media activities under the Dutch income tax. View this White Paper
VAT and Holding Companies’ Involvement: Benefit of the Doubt?
On 5 July 2018, the ECJ ruled in its judgment in the case of Marle Participations (C-320/17) that a holding company's involvement in the management of its subsidiary should be defined as all transactions constituting an economic activity performed by a holding company for the benefit of its subsidiary. Although this judgment seems to provide guidance on when a holding company can be regarded as a VAT taxable person, whereby such a company is thus in principle able to deduct input VAT, this White Paper raises some questions as to whether this judgment really does provide guidance or whether it results in even more questions. View this White Paper
European Commission – negative State aid decision with recovery in ENGIE
According to the Commission’s final decision in regard to Engie, two tax rulings issued by Luxembourg endorsed a domestic hybrid mismatch arrangement (i.e. the treatment of the same transaction as both debt and equity) leading to double non-taxation and, accordingly, granted to the beneficiary (Engie) a selective advantage resulting in incompatible State aid contrary to article 107 TFEU. This paper provides the background, briefly presents the facts and the line of reasoning and includes some follow-ups and comments. View this White Paper
Tax Simplification: It’s Complicated
Tax codes are notoriously complex and, despite frequent calls for simplification, there seems to be no simple solution. In this White Paper, the author highlights the complexity of the US tax code, examines its causes and concludes that some complexity is unavoidable to ensure a comprehensive and fair tax system. View this White Paper
South Dakota v. Wayfair - The Global Impact
On 21 June 2018, the US Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. The case was called the “tax case of the millennium” given its huge impact on the sales taxation of electronic commerce in the United States. This White Paper describes the Supreme Court’s decision, explains its impact on non-US businesses and puts the decision in the context of the current debate on the taxation of the digital economy. View this White Paper
MLI – Its Entry into Force and the Consolidated Texts of Impacted Articles of the First Affected Treaties
In this White Paper, the authors present all changes affecting these treaties and include as annexes the consolidated texts of the relevant provisions, with modifications and supplements made by the MLI visibly incorporated. View this White Paper
Taxation of the Digital Economy – the EU’s outlook
In this paper, the authors describe and comment on the European Commission’s two proposals for taxation of digital activities in the European Union and its recommendation to Member States on amending their tax treaties with third countries. View this White Paper
Tax-Related Identity Theft
In this paper, the author describes tax-related identity theft, references recent cases of the crime, offers prevention recommendations and outlines the prescribed procedure for victims. View this White Paper
Does the Tax Sector Need Blockchain?
Blockchain is frequently praised as a technological innovation that can be the panacea for all of the world's problems. In this paper, the author critically examines the usefulness of blockchain technology in the tax sector. View this White Paper
Halfway towards Consensus or Chaos? Taxation of the digital economy at the crossroads
On 16 March 2018, the OECD presented its long-awaited interim report of the tax challenges arising from digitalization. The OECD stated that there is no consensus among countries on whether and to what extent changes to the current tax regime are needed; however, an agreement should be reached by 2020. In this White Paper, the author provides some comments on the recently issued interim report. View this White Paper
Implementing the OECD/G20 BEPS Package in Developing Countries — An assessment of the priorities, experiences, challenges and needs of developing countries
This White Paper announces a report that IBFD prepared for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as part of its research and advisory work for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The aim of the report is to identify the priorities, experiences, challenges and needs of developing countries when implementing BEPS recommendations, specifically partner countries of German Development Cooperation (GDC), in order to assess where capacity building assistance is most needed. The report is divided in two main parts – a desk study and a survey study. The survey targeted GDC partner countries and was conducted in July and September 2017. View this White Paper
Definitive system of reduced VAT rates – Too much freedom?
The recent proposal of the European Commission would greatly liberalize the system of reduced VAT rates. Although this approach is in line with the planned definitive VAT system, there are still questions of both a political and technical nature that need to be considered during future consultations. View this White Paper
Revenue Losses due to VAT Gaps – A Study of Selected African Countries
This White Paper seeks to identify some of the causes of the VAT gap and proposes tools to ameliorate the VAT gap. View this White Paper
This White Paper reviews the progress made by Latin American countries that have joined the Inclusive Framework in respect of the implementation of the BEPS minimum standards and the status of the peer review process they are subject to. View this White Paper
The author provides a brief outline and analysis of the corporate income tax (CIT) reform in Latvia. The new CIT Law follows the Estonian CIT system, where CIT is paid on distributed profits. The classical system is abolished. View this White Paper
This White Paper summarizes some of the major tax developments of 2017. The authors discuss, among others, the US tax reform, the Brexit progress, the Paradise Papers, the Multilateral Instrument and the EU blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions. View this White Paper
Prospects for a post-Brexit customs cooperation
This paper examines the vision of the United Kingdom and of the European Union in their respective approaches to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Customs Union. View this White Paper
This White Paper reviews the recently released SAT Announcement  on special tax adjustments and mutual agreement procedures. View this White Paper
Will Trump’s Tax Reform Make America Great Again?
On 26 April 2017, the White House unveiled the core principles of Trump’s tax reform, which is meant to be “one of the biggest tax cuts in American history” and “the most significant tax reform since 1986”. This White Paper explains and comments on the reform proposal. View this White Paper
OECD Multilateral Convention: Flexibility versus the BEPS Project
The release of the OECD Multilateral Convention has revealed that states may decide to disregard many treaty-related measures of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project despite being signatories to it. This paper will look at the reasons behind such an astonishing degree of flexibility, not only in regard to the potential effectiveness of the Multilateral Convention but also in regard to its underlying objectives.
Trump’s Tax Plan
In this paper, the author provides a brief outline and analysis of Trump’s tax plan and draws comparisons with the tax plan proposed by House Republicans.
With the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump at hand, there is considerable interest in and apprehension about his innumerable campaign promises. For this paper, the author limits his focus to Trump’s tax-related proposals, which include a reduction of the corporate income tax rate and a consolidation of the individual income tax brackets. View this White Paper
This white paper outlines the main concerns that the US Treasury Department has expressed with regard to the European Commission’s new approach in its State aid investigations of transfer pricing rulings issued by EU Member States. View this White Paper
Since June 2013, the European Commission has been investigating the compatibility of tax rulings granted by the Member States with EU State aid law. On 30 August 2016, it concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to EUR 13 billion to Apple. This White Paper examines and comments on the Commission’s policy on State aid, specifically with regard to the Apple case. View this White Paper
European Union: Blacklists as a tool to fight tax avoidance
Blacklists are a commonly used instrument in the fight against tax avoidance. The European Union recognized the need for a uniform EU framework for addressing tax good governance concerns with third countries and initiated the development of a common EU list of noncooperative jurisdictions. This white paper provides a brief explanation of the EU policy on combating tax avoidance by means of blacklists. View this White Paper
EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive – Overview and some prospective effects
On 12 July 2016, the Council of the European Union adopted the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (the Directive). The implementation of the rules in the Directive will have several tax consequences at the EU level. This paper provides some brief technical background, describing the adopted rules and their prospective effects. View this White Paper
Tax Treaties: Time for a New Approach?
The author revisits the question of whether tax treaties are necessary, and the possible alternatives to the current bilateral regime. The scholarship of distinguished academics and prominent practitioners, on whether the present treaty architecture adequately meets the demands of the modern-day business and investment landscape, is parsed. View this White Paper
Immovable Property –Harmonization of the Place of Supply
The European Commission has published the Explanatory Notes on the VAT place of supply rules on services connected with immovable property within the legal framework of Implementing Regulation 1042/2013. This white paper analyses the new definition of “immovable property” and when a service is considered to be connected with it. Special focus is given to property management, intermediation and legal services. View this White Paper
Brexit referendum: tax implications of leave vote
On 23 June 2016, UK voters decided to opt out of the European Union. The Brexit will have significant tax consequences. This paper provides some brief technical background, listing the main headings of tax law under which the Brexit will impact the United Kingdom and the European Union. View this White Paper
BEPS-driven implications for M&A transactions
This paper discusses the manner in which expected changes to the tax legislative framework of various jurisdictions, driven by the BEPS proposals, are likely to shape the manner in which M&A transactions are carried out. This is particularity relevant in the current economic context, in which the value of M&A activity has reached unprecedented levels, an ascending trend that is expected to continue in the current year. View this White Paper
Tax Implications of the Amended 2016 Constitution of Zambia
This paper provides a critical review of the taxation provisions in the amended 2016 Constitution of Zambia. It analyses these provisions and lays out the impact that they may have on the prevailing tax laws and on the country's capacity to generate the revenue necessary for national development. Furthermore, the paper discusses the role of Parliament in the implementation of some of these provisions and the capacity building that the legislature may require. View this White Paper
Old Habits Die Hard: Should the United States Abolish Citizenship-Based Taxation?
The dramatic rise in citizenship renunciations by US nationals living overseas is likely pegged to increasingly stringent reporting requirements in particular and to the regime of citizenship-based taxation (CBT) in general. In this paper, the author maintains that the United States should consider scrapping CBT in favour of residence-based taxation (RBT), which is employed by every other OECD member country. View this White Paper
"Options for Low Income Countries’ Effective and Efficient Use of Tax Incentives for Investment": A Response
This White Paper is a summary of the response by IBFD’s Asia-Pacific office to a discussion draft released by the OECD on options for low income countries' effective and efficient use of tax incentives for investment. View this White Paper
Skandia America – How to deal with supplies between a head office and a fixed establishment in the future
On 17 September 2014, the ECJ gave its decision in the Skandia America case, which generated considerable debate within the VAT community. Member States are compelled to evaluate its effects and to issue guidance accordingly while the European Commission seeks a solution to the issues raised. Until any form of consensus is reached,
Skandia America is likely to lead to confusion and legal uncertainty regarding the treatment of supplies between a head office and fixed establishments that are also part of a VAT group. View this White Paper
Family Unit Taxation in Canada: The Family Tax Cut
Have Cost Contribution Arrangements Evolved into Value Contribution Arrangements?
Can a treaty create taxing rights for a contracting state? – Examining the differences in the definition of “permanent establishment” in Kenya's domestic law and treaties.
US States Challenge Tax Havens
VAT Lotteries – The ultimate road towards tax compliance and social awareness?
Withholding Taxes in the Service of BEPS Action 1: Address the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy
Blueprints for a New PE Nexus to Tax Business Income in the Era of the Digital Economy
This paper should be understood as a discussion paper to shed further light on (i) whether there is a theoretical justification for a new PE nexus based on digital presence, (ii) how a new PE nexus based on digital presence could be defined and (iii) whether and how potential implementation issues could be resolved. View this White Paper
Restoring integrity of tax systems - a taxing crossroad
- Billings Learned Hand. View this White Paper
Cross-border B2C supplies of services requiring cross-border guidelines
This White Paper reviews the challenges facing the OECD in designing VAT/GST guidelines on the place of taxation of cross-border B2C supplies of services. Possible proxies for determining the place of taxation for the various B2C services that could be provided and the methods for collecting and enforcing the VAT/GST, such as supplier registration, will need to be considered. View this White Paper
This research describes the impact of taxation on European and global mobility, focusing on the emigration and immigration of a business from a Dutch tax perspective. Three main criteria are used to assess the current tax system (DTCs, EU law and the benchmark of capital import neutrality), in the light of which the author provides recommendations to improve the current system. In addition, an alternative system is proposed that addresses the problems regarding business migration on an interstate level. View this White Paper
This White Paper highlights how the OECD's Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) impacts existing group structures. The author analyzes the possible effects that BEPS may have on digital trading, intra-group financing, hybrids and dual-resident companies, group finance and licensing companies, foreign permanent establishments and business restructuring/supply change management, and includes a look at some of the related transfer pricing issues. It also observes how some countries have already taken certain of the actions envisaged by BEPS prior to its publication, and some are taking action right now. The IBFD online collection International Tax Structuring covers all of these issues, as well as others in the BEPS Action Plan, as they may impact on an international business at each relevant stage of its development. The collection will continue to track the evolvement of the BEPS plan as it unrolls over the next few years. View this White Paper
Some Thoughts on Convergence and Tax Treaty Interpretation
Article from the Bulletin for International Taxation. View this White Paper
VAT Compliance Record of New Member States
This White Paper reviews the issues regarding the compliance of the new Member States with EU VAT law on the basis of the existing ECJ case law. View this White Paper
The Treatment of Services in Tax Treaties
This White Paper reviews the issues regarding the treatment of services in the UN and OECD Model Tax Conventions, and highlights IBFD’s research on the occurrence of general treaty provisions for entrepreneurial services. The arguments for and against gross and net taxation, and the possibility of a model provision, are explored. View this White Paper
This White Paper analyses the approach taken by the OECD regarding the application of domestic anti-abuse measures under Double Tax Agreements and the concerns it raises. View this White Paper
France exempts dividends paid to selected UCITS from dividend withholding tax
This White Paper analyses the conditions pursuant to which French-source dividends paid to a UCITS are exempt from withholding tax, and makes a few practical recommendations. View this White Paper
High tax on high income earners: not the right path to take.
This White Paper cautions against excessive taxation, and basically adopts the supply-side-economics point of view. View this White Paper
The liberalization of domestic economies (including the restriction or elimination of the control on foreign investment and of foreign exchange controls) allows persons operating globally to easily shift around not only passive income but also active income. In addition, some jurisdictions also embarked in tax competition including the creation of special offshores regimes to attract the internationally mobile capital. This reality plus the differences in domestic tax systems provide taxpayers the opportunity to benefit from special regimes and also to try to avoid or evade taxation.Confronted with this problem, countries must on the one hand fight for maintaining their tax sovereignty and ensure the correct allocation of taxing rights between tax treaty partners. On the other hand, harmful tax competition has to be addressed by the international community. The aim is to improve transparency and cooperation between tax administrations, the key element being the exchange of information. View this White Paper
Este artículo describe los aspectos generales el problema del abuso de convenios de doble imposición, el cual se ha estudiado en el ámbito internacional, principalmente, en relación con el "mercadeo de tratados"1 (treaty shopping); aunque en ningún caso se limita al mismo. La sección 2 describe el problema del abuso de estos convenios y de su definición (sección 2). La sección 3 describe las medidas que los Estados han adoptado o pueden adoptar para contrarrestar el uso abusivo de estos convenios, considerando asimismo sus limitaciones. Finalmente, la sección 4 analiza, dentro de este contexto, la situación y medidas adoptadas por Chile. View this White Paper
Integrity, ethics for tax administrations
Ethics are the keystones of integrity. But how do we define what is actually right and wrong? The grey area is rather big, in most of the cases; therefore integrity or its lack of it has to be judged from case to case. Some governments actively overlook the lack of integrity as a non-existent issue; some use it as a working tool. View this White Paper
It is well known that unsatisfactory governance and lack of integrity have a negative influence on a country's economic growth and social welfare. However, despite decades of foreign consultancy, academic research and political advice, the situation has not improved in many parts of the world. The problem is that the fundamentals of good governance and integrity are of western (often Anglo-Saxon) origin but are presented as universal principles, thus denying the importance of domestic values and failing to acknowledge cultural characteristics. Fighting corruption and non-integrity is ineffective if the focus is on foreign standards that cannot be implemented in an environment that is (almost) hostile to non-practical and non-executable advice. Therefore, instances of lack of integrity should first be studied in depth in order to uncover the reasons behind unwanted behaviour, as well as the conditions that facilitate it. In this sense, every case of corruption is an example of the failing conditions of a system that is unable to protect its participants against vulnerable situations. Instead of fighting abuse of the system the aim should be to make organizations and societies healthy and allow new winners to set an example for the next generations. View the presentation
In many articles and books about tax administration and taxation, the concept of “compliance” is introduced and explained. However, the paradigm of the legitimacy of the state is mostly forgotten. It is taken for granted that an essential and common understanding exists between the taxpayer and the state about the obligations of both and about the individual rights of the citizen. View this White Paper
Since 1938, the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) has documented the progression of cross-border taxation. One of the more recent progressions has been the developments in transparency and exchange of information regarding tax matters. Much of this activity has been driven by governments’ desire to secure their tax bases during tough economic times as well as the OECD’s advocacy of a threshold to distinguish between jurisdictions which have implemented standards for information sharing and those which have not. View this White Paper