The Impact of the Multilateral Instrument on China

This article assesses the impact of the BEPS Action 15 Multilateral Instrument (MLI) on China by analysing the preliminary positions and reservations that China made when it signed the MLI and by questioning the compatibility of the MLI Explanatory Statement with the interpretation of Covered Tax Agreements in China. The author contends that implementation of the MLI will increase the discretionary power of tax authorities, which may lead to more uncertainties for taxpayers and more disputes arising from the interpretation and implementation of tax treaties. The author is also concerned that treaty shopping arrangements might increase when the anti-BEPS provisions of the MLI only modify some of the Covered Tax Agreements.