Action Item 6 addresses abuse of treaties, particularly focusing on treaty shopping as one of the most important sources of B.E.P.S. The approach adopted amends the O.E.C.D. Model Convention that borrows from the U.S.'s approach to treaties but expands upon it in a way that can be very helpful to the U.S. and other developed countries if adopted by the C.F.E. next year in their final report. Among other measures, the report recommends inclusion of a Limitation on Benefits (“L.O.B.”) provision and a general anti-avoidance rule called the Principal Purpose Test (“P.P.T.”) to be included in the O.E.C.D. Model Convention. While it is expected the report will be finalized next year, whether countries will adopt the recommendations is the crucial factor that is still unclear.
The key recommendations can be found in Paragraph 14. It contains two basic recommendations:
- Countries should agree to include in the tax treaties an express statement of the common intention to eliminate double taxation without creating opportunities for non-taxation or reduced taxation through tax evasion or avoidance through use of treaties.
- Countries should demonstrate their commitment to this goal by adopting an L.O.B. provision and a P.P.T. provision in income tax treaties.
The report also notes that special rules may be needed to address application of these rules to collective investment funds (“C.I.F.’s”). The provision should be supplemented by a mechanism that would deal with conduit arrangements not currently dealt with in tax treaties.