Beneficial ownership and related controversies

This webinar addresses the importance of the concept of “beneficial ownership” or “beneficial owner” (BO), the rationale behind the concept, its evolution over time, the problems and difficulties it presents and the administrative positions and case law of selected jurisdictions.

It aims to present a clear picture of the concept of BO. It specifically covers the meaning given to BO in the Commentaries on the OECD and UN Modes in terms of legal and economic entitlements as well as based on the factual circumstances, practical interpretation and application of the BO requirement in different countries. This will be illustrated with case law from some jurisdictions and the ECJ, the relation between BO and substance and BO and the principal purpose test (PPT) and using examples based on prominent court cases. Our speakers will share their experiences on the significance of BO requirements, controversies evolving around the concept and its functions in the aftermath of BEPS particularly in the light of the provisions on entitlement to benefits in the form of the limitation on benefits (LoB) and  the principal purpose test (PPT) rule. 

Topics Covered

Block 1: Importance of the concept of “beneficial ownership” or “beneficial owner” (BO)
  • Tax treaty articles 
  • EU Directives 
  • Money laundering and registries of BO
Block 2: Meaning of BO under the OECD and UN Commentaries (1977-2021)
  • Legal and economic entitlement
  • Determining BO based on factual circumstances 
  • Look-through approach 
Block 3: Practical interpretation and application of BO
  • Prominent case law of countries and ECJ on interpretation of BO
  • BO and substance 
Block 4: Function of BO in the post-BEPS era
  • Changes to preamble of tax treaties and BO
  • Entitlement to benefits rules (i.e. LoB and PPT) and BO
  • Illustrative examples 

Learning Objectives

After this webinar, the participants will be able to: 

  • Identify tax treaty provisions dealing with BO requirements and the significance of BO to access tax treaty benefits  
  • Interpret the concept of BO in the context of the latest OECD Commentary as well as prominent case law
  • Compare the practical interpretation and application of BO in different jurisdictions
  • Differentiate between the relationship between BO requirement and other anti-tax treaty abuse provisions 
  • Demonstrate the function of BO requirement in the post-BEPS era


  • Bart Kosters - Senior Principal Associate Tax Services IBFD
  • Carlos Gutiérrez Puente - Principal Research Associate Tax Services IBFD
  • Vanessa Arruda Ferreira - Principal Associate Knowledge Centre

Field of study


Who should participate

This webinar would benefit tax professionals working in multinational groups, tax and legal advisory firms and governments:

  • In-house tax professionals and advisers looking to assess the impact of the implementation of the BO requirements to access  tax treaty benefits
  • Legal professionals assessing the risk of tax controversy associated with the interpretation and application of BO requirements in different jurisdictions 
  • Government officials involved in the implementation of tax treaties regarding reduced withholding taxes or exemptions on dividends, interest, royalties, fees on technical services, etc and those responsible for auditing payments to non-residents 

Course level and prerequisites

This is an intermediate-level webinar. Participants in this webinar are expected to have at least 3 to 5 years of experience in international tax and are familiar with the key concepts of international tax law.

Advance preparation

No advance preparation is needed. Participants are expected to be familiar with the key concepts of international tax law.

Interactive webinar – “Group Internet Based” (live webinar only)

During live webinars, it is possible to interact with the presenters via a chat message function. Please note that questions are answered based on relevance, order of receipt and available time. Additionally, participants in the live webinar are invited to answer poll questions. Participants will also have access to the on-demand version for a further 12 months from the live date.

Date of live broadcast: 04 May 2023

On-demand webinar

On-demand webinars are intended for individual self-study only. Unlike live webinars, they are not open to interactive participation nor do they offer the assistance of a real-time instructor. Access to on-demand webinars is granted for a period of 12 months.

Continuing Professional Education

Many accrediting organizations will grant continuing professional education (CPE) credit(s) for an IBFD audio-visual broadcast. It is advisable, however, that you check with your accrediting body as to whether this applies only to live webinars or to on-demand webinars as well. International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of CPE on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have the final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: NASBA CPE credit – 1 (only applicable to live webinar).

Webinar registration details

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