Evolution of the Concept of Technical Services and the Policy Considerations Driving Their Development

When dealing with situations in which technical services are paid by an enterprise to a non-resident service provider, the tax implications from both a domestic and treaty standpoint are quite varied. Although typically subject to withholding tax in the source state, the specific treaty and domestic law provisions that apply to cross-border technical services have changed over the past decades. Yet, more profound changes are still needed, especially when developing countries are involved. Developing countries have played a significant role in driving policy changes in respect of the taxation of technical services. This, however, should not be seen as an initiative going against the interests of developed countries under the auspices of the globalized attempt to counter BEPS. In this sense, assessing how the meaning and interpretation has (or should have) evolved over time and which policy considerations have driven such changes is fundamental for the evaluation of the allocation of taxing rights between the source and residence states in terms of effectiveness.