Council Directive on Double Taxation Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: “Resolving Companies’ Areas of Concern?”

Without effective dispute resolution mechanisms between Member States of the European Union, companies will face the increasing possibility of unresolved double taxation. This is in particular due to new BEPS Actions that will provide Member States with expanding taxation opportunities. This article discusses whether the new Council Directive on Double Taxation Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the European Union (the Directive) will resolve the areas of concern that companies currently face in dispute resolution procedures between Member States under tax treaties and the EU Arbitration Convention. Three areas of concern discussed here are (i) access to the procedure, (ii) length of the procedure and (iii) outcome of the procedure. The article concludes that the Directive will provide an overall improvement within these areas of concern because of the extended scope for qualifying disputes and the inclusion of clear deadlines and fall-back mechanisms in the Directive. However, this improved legal certainty for taxpayers is expected to come at a (high) price in the form of increased durations of already lengthy dispute resolution procedures.