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B.E.P.S. Action 14: Make Dispute Resolution Mechanisms More Effective

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The O.E.C.D. has continued to publish discussion drafts under its 15-part action plan (the “B.E.P.S. Action Plan”) for combatting base erosion and profit shifting (“B.E.P.S.”), with Action 14 being the most unique.

Action 14, entitled “Make Dispute Resolution Mechanisms More Effective,” provides as follows:

Develop solutions to address obstacles that prevent countries from solving treaty-related disputes under MAP, including the absence of arbitration provisions in most treaties and the fact that access to MAP and arbitration may be denied in certain cases.

While most components of the B.E.P.S. Action Plan address the problems caused by base erosion and profit shifting, the recently proposed discussion draft for Action 14 (“Discussion Draft” or “Draft”) addresses the mutual agreement procedures (“M.A.P.”) used to resolve treaty-related disputes. Action 14 addresses the current obstacles faced by taxpayers seeking M.A.P. relief to avoid economic double taxation and provides suggestions as to how to revise provisions in order to improve the integration of M.A.P. dispute resolution mechanisms. The O.E.C.D. describes it as a unique opportunity to overcome traditional obstacles and to provide effective relief through M.A.P. The Discussion Draft proposes complementary solutions that are intended to have a practical and measurable impact, rather than merely providing additional guidance which may not be followed.