The Principle of Non-discrimination in International and European Tax Law

The Principle of Non-Discrimination in International and European Tax Law
This dissertation analyses the non-discrimination principle in tax treaties and in the direct tax case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Winner of the 2012 Mitchell B. Carroll Prize awarded by the International Fiscal Association (IFA).

Why this book?

The principle of non-discrimination plays a vital role in international and European tax law. This dissertation analyses the interpretation given to that principle in tax treaty practice and in the direct tax case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) on the fundamental freedoms. The objective of this analysis is twofold: to give a clear and thorough overview of both standards and to determine whether they share a common, underlying principle of non-discrimination. In order to achieve these objectives, a comprehensive selection of case law is discussed from the perspective of the two constitutive elements of discrimination, comparability and the existence of different treatment. Moreover, attention is drawn to the question whether a domestic measure that is found to be discriminatory may nevertheless be justified on the basis of reasons of public interest.

Finally, the possible interplay between both standards is addressed. First, the partial overlap of the two non-discrimination rules may cause frictions. Complex triangular situations are possible, with conflicting rules giving rise to interpretation problems. A second issue discussed in this context is whether national courts of EU Member States are influenced by ECJ case law on the fundamental freedoms when interpreting the non-discrimination provision in tax treaties. Given the deficiencies of that provision, courts may be tempted to draw inspiration from the European standard. The relevant case law is discussed in order to determine whether there is indeed such an influence, and whether such an influence is appropriate.


Sample excerpt, including table of contents 

This book is part of the IBFD Doctoral Series

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Dr Niels Bammens works at Ernst & Young in Brussels and is a researcher at the Institute for Tax Law at the University of Leuven. Dr Bammens was awarded the Mitchell B. Carroll Prize at the 2012 congress of the International Fiscal Association.

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