Other Publications



Action Item 15: Developing a Multilateral Instrument to Modify Bilateral Tax Treaties

Read Publication


Implementation of many of the B.E.P.S. Action Items would require amending or otherwise modifying international tax treaties. According to the O.E.C.D., the sheer number of bilateral tax treaties makes updating the current treaty network highly burdensome. Therefore, B.E.P.S. Action Item 15 recommends the development of a multilateral instrument (“M.L.I.”) to enable countries to easily implement measures developed through the B.E.P.S. initiative and to amend existing treaties. Without a mechanism for swift implementation of the Action Items, changes to model tax conventions merely widen the gap between the content of the models and the content of actual tax treaties.

Discussion of Action Item 15 has centered on the following issues:

  • Whether an M.L.I. is necessary,
  • Whether an M.L.I. is feasible, and
  • Whether an M.L.I. is legal.

In the spirit of these ongoing discussions concerning Action Item 15, we offer our commentary in a “point/counterpoint” format.