Volume 44 (2016) / Issue 5
In report 6 of the BEPS action plan, Preventing the Granting of Treaty Benefits in Inappropriate Circumstances, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proposes (amongst others) to include a principal purpose test (PPT) in tax treaties. Under this test a treaty benefit shall not be granted if it is reasonable to conclude that obtaining that benefit was one of the principal purposes of any arrangement or transaction (subjective test), unless it is established that granting that benefit in these circumstances would be in accordance with the object and purpose of the relevant provisions of the treaty (objective test). The subjective test is, from the viewpoint of the tax authorities a relatively ‘easy’ test. The objective test, however, can provide for some relief for taxpayers. In this article the PPT is being investigated and discussed. Especially, attention is given to the objective test. An attempt is being made to develop practical guidance to interpret the PPT, based on Dutch case law and doctrine.
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