The Application of Tax Treaties to Collective Investment Vehicles: Beneficial Owner Requirement Explained?

Absent an express provision, a tax treaty applies to a CIV if, inter alia, the beneficial owner requirement is met. The CIV’s managers must have discretionary powers to manage assets on behalf of its investors; significantly, a CIV’s obligation to distribute does not preclude it from satisfying this condition. The author concludes that if a CIV has possession, use, risk and control over, as well as commingles, the dividends paid to it, it is ever more likely to be the beneficial owner of those dividends. These conclusions are based on an analysis of the OECD Model Convention and Commentary, as well as the Prévost and Velcro cases.