Anti-abuse measures and the application of tax treaties in the Netherlands

This article reviews the application of anti-abuse measures in treaty situations from a Dutch law perspective. The most important general domestic anti-abuse measure in the Netherlands is the fraus legis doctrine, as developed in Netherlands case law. This doctrine is basically a judge-made substance-over-form rule. After a brief description of the international framework regarding the relationship between domestic anti-abuse measures and tax treaties, the article examines the relevant case law of the Netherlands Supreme Court on the application of fraus legis in treaty situations. The article also discusses the statutory anti-dividend stripping measure in the Netherlands which is also intended to apply in treaty situations. In the absence of relevant case law, the article provides the position of the Netherlands government on the relationship between this statutory measure and the tax treaties concluded by the Netherlands.