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Kan en generell skatteflyktsregel tillämpas på en rättshandling som omfattas av ett skatteavtal? – med utgångspunkt i kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal

Lindroth, Sebastian LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Syftet med examensarbetet är att analysera möjligheten att tillämpa en generell skatteflyktsregel på en rättshandling som omfattas av ett skatteavtal, utan att en konflikt kan anses uppstå. Anledningen att en konflikt skulle kunna anses uppstå är att skatteavtalet stadgar en viss beskattning och den generella skatteflyktsregeln en annan. Utgångspunkten för analysen i uppsatsen är kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal. Härvid behandlas även frågor rörande kommentarens betydelse för tillämpningen av den svenska skatteflyktslagen.

Kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal är inte en bindande rättskälla. Främst är kommentaren till hjälp för att fastställa den gemensamma partsavsikten i de fall avtalets ordalydelse inte ger... (More)
Syftet med examensarbetet är att analysera möjligheten att tillämpa en generell skatteflyktsregel på en rättshandling som omfattas av ett skatteavtal, utan att en konflikt kan anses uppstå. Anledningen att en konflikt skulle kunna anses uppstå är att skatteavtalet stadgar en viss beskattning och den generella skatteflyktsregeln en annan. Utgångspunkten för analysen i uppsatsen är kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal. Härvid behandlas även frågor rörande kommentarens betydelse för tillämpningen av den svenska skatteflyktslagen.

Kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal är inte en bindande rättskälla. Främst är kommentaren till hjälp för att fastställa den gemensamma partsavsikten i de fall avtalets ordalydelse inte ger någon vägledning. Av kommentaren framgår att det finns en möjlighet att förhindra skatteflykt genom användandet av generella skatteflyktsregler. En förutsättning är att det rör sig om en skattflyktssituation. I kommentaren definieras skatteflykt som ett missbruk av skatteavtal. Beviljandet av en skatteförmån som strider mot syftet och ändamålet med skatteavtalet utgör enligt kommentaren, ett missbruk. Huruvida en skatteflyktssituation föreligger eller ej, menar jag avgörs av den interna lagstiftningen.

För att en konflikt inte ska anses uppstå, krävs enligt huvudregeln i kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal att den generella skatteflyktsregeln grundar skattskyldighet. Den generella skatteflyktsregeln omfattas då inte av skatteavtal och dess tillämpning påverkas därför inte. Kommentarens utgångspunkt är att alla generella skatteflyktsregler grundar skattskyldighet genom fastställandet av juridiska fakta. I verkligheten kan generella skatteflyktsregler även genom tolkning fastställa skattskyldighet. I uppsatsen hävdar jag att det finns möjlighet att även tillämpa denna typ av generella skatteflyktsregler utan att någon konflikt kan anses uppstå. Detta även om dessa regler inte omfattas av huvudregeln i kommentaren. Enligt min mening framgår denna möjlighet av stadgandet i kommentaren om att ett av syftena med skatteavtal är att förhindra skatteflykt.

I uppsatsen tar jag mot bakgrund av HFD 2012 ref. 20 ställning för att det finns en möjlighet att tillämpa den svenska skatteflyktslagen på en rättshandling som omfattas av ett skatteavtal. Avgörande för möjligheten är vad som framgår av den gemensamma partsavsikten. Det krävs dock att inget annat följer av skatteavtalets ordalydelse. För att tolka skatteavtalet och utröna den gemensamma partsavsikten används kommentaren till art. 1 i OECD:s modellavtal. Skatteflyktslagen, som fastställer skattskyldighet genom tolkning, kan därmed tillämpas utan att en konflikt kan anses uppstå. Huruvida en skatteflyktssituation föreligger, avgörs således av skatteflyktslagens rekvisit.

Vad som stadgas i kommentaren vad gäller skatteflykt och tillämpningen av interna generella skatteflyktsregler har förändrats genom åren. I uppsatsen redogörs därför för vikten av att den senaste versionen av kommentar används vid tolkningen. Det är nämligen först i denna version som det framgår att syftet med skatteavtal är att förhindra skatteflykt. Mot bakgrund av praxis menar jag att detta är möjligt i Sverige även om den versionen inte fanns tillgänglig när skatteavtalet ingicks. (Less)
Abstract
The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the possibility of applying a general anti-avoidance rule on a transaction covered by a tax treaty without a conflict can be considered to arise. The reason that a conflict could be considered to arise, is that the tax treaty statues a taxation which differs from the taxation statuted by the internal general anti-avoidance rule. The main focus for the analysis is the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. In this respect, the thesis also deals with issues regarding the relevance of the Commentary to the application of the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act.

The Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention is not a binding source of law. Foremost, the Commentary... (More)
The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the possibility of applying a general anti-avoidance rule on a transaction covered by a tax treaty without a conflict can be considered to arise. The reason that a conflict could be considered to arise, is that the tax treaty statues a taxation which differs from the taxation statuted by the internal general anti-avoidance rule. The main focus for the analysis is the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. In this respect, the thesis also deals with issues regarding the relevance of the Commentary to the application of the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act.

The Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention is not a binding source of law. Foremost, the Commentary helps to determine the mutual agreement of the contracting parties, in case the wording of the provisions of the tax treaty does not provide guidance. The Commentary illustrates that there is an opportunity to prevent tax avoidance and evasion through the use of general anti-avoidance rules, conditional that an abusive transaction is at hand. The Commentary defines tax avoidance and evasion as an abuse of tax treaties. To grant a tax advantage that is contrary to the object and purpose of the tax treaty is considered to be an abusive transaction. According to the Commentary an abuse of a tax treaty is automatically an abuse of a state’s internal tax legislation. Thus, in my opinion the state’s internal domestic law determines whether an abusive transaction is at hand or not.

In order for a conflict not to be considered to arise, general anti-avoidance rules need to be part of the basic domestic rules set by national tax law for determining which facts give rise to a tax liability. These rules are not addressed in tax treaties and are therefore not affected by them. This is according to the general rule in the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. In the thesis I describe the problem regarding that the assumption of the Commentary is that all general anti-avoidance rules determine tax liability through legal facts. In reality, general anti-avoidance rules can also determine tax liability through interpretation. In the thesis I argue that it is possible to apply this kind of general anti-avoidance rules, even if those rules are not covered by the general rule in the Commentary. In my opinion, this is based on the statute in the Commentary that one of the purposes of tax treaties is to prevent tax avoidance and evasion.

In light of the Swedish Supreme Administrative Courts ruling, HFD 2012 ref. 20, I believe there is a possibility to apply the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act on a transaction, which is covered by a tax treaty. Essential for this is what can be derived from the mutual agreement of the contracting parties. However, this must not be contradicting to the wording of the treaty. In order to interpret the tax treaty and to determine the mutual agreement of the contracting parties, the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Convention is used. The Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act, which determines tax liability through interpretation, can thus be applied without a conflict can be considered to arise. Whether a tax situation exists, is in my opinion determined by The Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Acts prerequisites.

What is provided in the Commentary regarding tax avoidance and evasion, and the application of internal general anti-avoidance rules have changed over time. The thesis outlines the importance of using the latest version of the Commentary in the interpretation. This is due to the fact that it is only in this version it is clear that the purpose of tax treaties is to prevent tax avoidance and evasion. Under the case law of the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, I believe that this is possible in Sweden even if that specific version of the Commentary was not available when the tax treaty was concluded. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lindroth, Sebastian LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Can a general anti-avoidance rule be applied on a transaction covered by a tax treaty? - on the basis of the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Convention
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Skatterätt
language
Swedish
id
4228632
date added to LUP
2014-01-23 08:16:50
date last changed
2014-01-23 08:16:50
@misc{4228632,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the possibility of applying a general anti-avoidance rule on a transaction covered by a tax treaty without a conflict can be considered to arise. The reason that a conflict could be considered to arise, is that the tax treaty statues a taxation which differs from the taxation statuted by the internal general anti-avoidance rule. The main focus for the analysis is the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. In this respect, the thesis also deals with issues regarding the relevance of the Commentary to the application of the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act.

The Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention is not a binding source of law. Foremost, the Commentary helps to determine the mutual agreement of the contracting parties, in case the wording of the provisions of the tax treaty does not provide guidance. The Commentary illustrates that there is an opportunity to prevent tax avoidance and evasion through the use of general anti-avoidance rules, conditional that an abusive transaction is at hand. The Commentary defines tax avoidance and evasion as an abuse of tax treaties. To grant a tax advantage that is contrary to the object and purpose of the tax treaty is considered to be an abusive transaction. According to the Commentary an abuse of a tax treaty is automatically an abuse of a state’s internal tax legislation. Thus, in my opinion the state’s internal domestic law determines whether an abusive transaction is at hand or not.

In order for a conflict not to be considered to arise, general anti-avoidance rules need to be part of the basic domestic rules set by national tax law for determining which facts give rise to a tax liability. These rules are not addressed in tax treaties and are therefore not affected by them. This is according to the general rule in the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. In the thesis I describe the problem regarding that the assumption of the Commentary is that all general anti-avoidance rules determine tax liability through legal facts. In reality, general anti-avoidance rules can also determine tax liability through interpretation. In the thesis I argue that it is possible to apply this kind of general anti-avoidance rules, even if those rules are not covered by the general rule in the Commentary. In my opinion, this is based on the statute in the Commentary that one of the purposes of tax treaties is to prevent tax avoidance and evasion. 

In light of the Swedish Supreme Administrative Courts ruling, HFD 2012 ref. 20, I believe there is a possibility to apply the Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act on a transaction, which is covered by a tax treaty. Essential for this is what can be derived from the mutual agreement of the contracting parties. However, this must not be contradicting to the wording of the treaty. In order to interpret the tax treaty and to determine the mutual agreement of the contracting parties, the Commentary on Article 1 of the OECD Model Convention is used. The Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Act, which determines tax liability through interpretation, can thus be applied without a conflict can be considered to arise. Whether a tax situation exists, is in my opinion determined by The Swedish General Anti-Avoidance Acts prerequisites.

What is provided in the Commentary regarding tax avoidance and evasion, and the application of internal general anti-avoidance rules have changed over time. The thesis outlines the importance of using the latest version of the Commentary in the interpretation. This is due to the fact that it is only in this version it is clear that the purpose of tax treaties is to prevent tax avoidance and evasion. Under the case law of the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, I believe that this is possible in Sweden even if that specific version of the Commentary was not available when the tax treaty was concluded.},
  author       = {Lindroth, Sebastian},
  keyword      = {Skatterätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Kan en generell skatteflyktsregel tillämpas på en rättshandling som omfattas av ett skatteavtal? – med utgångspunkt i kommentaren till artikel 1 i OECD:s modellavtal},
  year         = {2013},
}