Confronting Conflicts of Qualification in Tax Treaty Law: The Principle of Common Interpretation and the New Approach Revisited

The principle of common interpretation and the new approach to article 23 A/B of the OECD Model Tax Convention are two concepts in tax treaty interpretation to avoid double taxation and double non-taxation resulting from conflicts of qualification. Against the backdrop of the introduction of similarly working approaches, namely the linking rules of BEPS Action 2, it seems appropriate to re-evaluate the doctrinal foundation and practical applicability of both concepts. Since the effectiveness of the principle of common interpretation and the new approach depends on their international recognition, the analysis is based on a comparative study including six jurisdictions, representing common and civil law: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the first part of this article, the principle of common interpretation is examined, while the second part assesses the new approach. The third part concludes and gives proposals for the development of a joint methodological understanding of both concepts.