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BEPS och fast driftställe - Hur påverkas svensk rätt av åtgärdspunkt 7?

Söderström, Carl-Johan LU (2016) JURM02 20161
Department of Law
Abstract
The OECD initiated the BEPS project in 2013 with the purpose of eliminating tax avoidance and profit shifting. One of the actions in the project aims to change the current definition of permanent establishments in the OECD model convention, especially concerning dependent and independent agents.

The current definition of a permanent establishment has, with the exception of minor changes, been in use since 1963 when the first model convention was published. Due to technological progress the definition has come to be regarded as outdated, providing companies with opportunities to circumvent the regulations and locate profits to countries other than those in which they have arisen. Articles 5.5 and 5.6 of the model convention have been... (More)
The OECD initiated the BEPS project in 2013 with the purpose of eliminating tax avoidance and profit shifting. One of the actions in the project aims to change the current definition of permanent establishments in the OECD model convention, especially concerning dependent and independent agents.

The current definition of a permanent establishment has, with the exception of minor changes, been in use since 1963 when the first model convention was published. Due to technological progress the definition has come to be regarded as outdated, providing companies with opportunities to circumvent the regulations and locate profits to countries other than those in which they have arisen. Articles 5.5 and 5.6 of the model convention have been considered to be particularly vulnerable to such forms of abuse.

Currently, article 5.5 states that a permanent establishment arises for an enterprise if, in a specific country, there is a person with the authority to act on behalf of the enterprise who also has and habitually exercises the authority to conclude contracts in the name of the enterprise. There is, however, an exception in article 5.6 that provides the non-existance of a permanent establishment if the agent is independent, such as a commissionaire or a broker. In the proposed changes to the article the creation of a permanent establishment is no longer contingent on whether or not an agent has a power of attorney or signatory authority. Instead, it is sufficient if the agent has a leading roll in negotiations leading up to the conclusion of contracts. The proposed changes also state that contracts concluded by the agent no longer need to be in the name of the enterprise as long as they concern the transfer of ownership of products or services belonging to the enterprise. The explicit exception for commissionaires and brokers in article 5.6 is removed and furthermore, agents are no longer considered to be truly independent if they act exclusively or almost exclusively on behalf of one or more enterprises to whom they are closely related. While the current definition of a permanent establishment focuses on the legal capacity of the agent the proposed definition focuses on the actions of the agent, and the proposed changes could lead to numerous permanent establishments coming into existence.

The effects of the propsed changes are uncertain as the process of implementation is yet to be determined. An ambulatory approach to the proposed changes is most likely not in accordance with statements made in doctrine, which means that current double tax agreements as well as domestic law would need to be modified.

Another action proposed within the project is the creation of a multilateral instrument with the ability to change current treaties. This would mean that existing tax conventions would be included by the changes, but it is not obvious that signing such an instrument would be advantageous and it is presently not certain that it will be signed. Conversely, it would clearly be in Sweden’s best interests to implement the new definition in domestic law if enough countries choose to sign the multilateral instrument since the relative status of a tax agreement compared to domestic law would render the current definition more or less unusable. The proposed changes are most likely going to decrease the swedish tax base but if the proposed changes are not implemented other problems may occur, such as administrative burdens and a lack of legal security. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
År 2013 initierades BEPS-projektet av OECD, vilket syftar till att motverka skatteflykt och erodering av skattebaser. En av projektets åtgärdspunkter (nummer 7) har till ändamål att förändra definitionen av vad som utgör ett fast driftställe enligt OECD:s modellavtal.

Den nuvarande definitionen av ett fast driftställe har varit i stort sett oförändrad sedan den infördes i modellavtalet 1963. I takt med den tekniska utvecklingen har den dock ansetts föråldrad och därigenom har risken ansetts finnas för att företag kan kringgå regleringen. Således riskerar inkomster att bli beskattade i andra länder än där de faktiskt uppkommit. Framförallt regleringen i modellavtalets artikel 5.5 och 5.6 har ansetts öppna för sådana möjligheter.

Den... (More)
År 2013 initierades BEPS-projektet av OECD, vilket syftar till att motverka skatteflykt och erodering av skattebaser. En av projektets åtgärdspunkter (nummer 7) har till ändamål att förändra definitionen av vad som utgör ett fast driftställe enligt OECD:s modellavtal.

Den nuvarande definitionen av ett fast driftställe har varit i stort sett oförändrad sedan den infördes i modellavtalet 1963. I takt med den tekniska utvecklingen har den dock ansetts föråldrad och därigenom har risken ansetts finnas för att företag kan kringgå regleringen. Således riskerar inkomster att bli beskattade i andra länder än där de faktiskt uppkommit. Framförallt regleringen i modellavtalets artikel 5.5 och 5.6 har ansetts öppna för sådana möjligheter.

Den nuvarande lydelsen i artikel 5.5 stadgar att en oberoende representant kan utgöra ett fast driftställe om denne regelbundet använder en fullmakt och sluter avtal i företagets namn. Vidare fastslås i artikel 5.6 att ett fast driftställe inte föreligger om representanten är oberoende från företaget ekonomiskt och juridiskt, exempelvis genom att agera som en mäklare eller kommissionär. I de föreslagna ändringarna av artikel 5.5 framkommer att en fullmakt inte längre ska utgöra ett krav för att ett fast driftställe ska kunna uppkomma, utan istället är det tillräckligt att en representant innehar en ledande roll i förhandlingarna som leder fram till avtalet. Vidare är det inte längre nödvändigt att avtalen ingås i företagets namn om dessa avser transferering av produkter eller tjänster tillhöriga företaget i fråga. I artikel 5.6 avskaffas sedan det uttryckliga undantaget för mäklare och kommissionärer samtidigt som skärpta krav innebär att en representant inte kan anses vara oberoende om denne agerar uteslutande, eller nästan uteslutande, för ett eller flera företag som denne är nära sammankopplad med. Genom den nya definitionen riktas fokus på representantens agerande snarare än dennes rättsliga kapacitet. Artikel 5.5 får ett utvidgat tillämpningsområde samtidigt som artikel 5.6 blir snävare, vilket medför att fler fasta driftställen kan uppkomma.

Effekterna av BEPS-projektets föreslagna ändring av definitionen av ett fast driftställe är ännu något oklara. En ändring av modellavtalet får ingen direkt effekt för redan ingångna skatteavtal och internrättsliga regleringar, då ett sådant ambulatoriskt förhållningssätt till de föreslagna ändringarna inte är i linje med vad som uttalats i doktrin. Därför föreslås i projektet ett multilateralt instrument som ska kunna förändra redan ingångna avtal. Huruvida instrumentet verkligen kommer att undertecknas är inte helt klarlagt då det finns aspekter som talar både för och emot. Vad som däremot tycks stå klart är att Sverige bör implementera den nya definitionen av ett fast driftställe om tillräckligt många länder ansluter sig till den. En situation där skatteavtal och interna regleringar skiljer sig åt mellan olika länder skulle potentiellt sett kunna leda till risken för ökad dubbelbeskattning. Det står också klart att inte bara skatteavtal behöver ändras utan även den internrättsliga definitionen i Inkomstskattelagen. Skatteavtalens starka ställning i förhållande till intern rätt skulle annars riskera att den svenska internrättsliga definitionen av fasta driftställen blir mer eller mindre verkningslös, åtminstone i förhållande till länder med vilka Sverige ingått skatteavtal.

Den nya definitionen riskerar att drabba den svenska skattebasen negativt. Att inte implementera den skulle dock kunna medföra än värre konsekvenser, exempelvis i form av administrativa bördor och minskad förutsebarhet. (Less)
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author
Söderström, Carl-Johan LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
BEPS and Permanent Establishment - How will action 7 influence Swedish tax law?
course
JURM02 20161
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
BEPS åtgärdspunkt 7, Fast Driftställe, Beroende Agent, Oberoende Agent, Skatterätt, BEPS Action 7, Permanent Establishment, Dependent Agent, Independent Agent, Tax Law
language
Swedish
id
8875056
date added to LUP
2016-06-07 11:58:56
date last changed
2016-06-07 11:58:56
@misc{8875056,
  abstract     = {The OECD initiated the BEPS project in 2013 with the purpose of eliminating tax avoidance and profit shifting. One of the actions in the project aims to change the current definition of permanent establishments in the OECD model convention, especially concerning dependent and independent agents.

The current definition of a permanent establishment has, with the exception of minor changes, been in use since 1963 when the first model convention was published. Due to technological progress the definition has come to be regarded as outdated, providing companies with opportunities to circumvent the regulations and locate profits to countries other than those in which they have arisen. Articles 5.5 and 5.6 of the model convention have been considered to be particularly vulnerable to such forms of abuse.

Currently, article 5.5 states that a permanent establishment arises for an enterprise if, in a specific country, there is a person with the authority to act on behalf of the enterprise who also has and habitually exercises the authority to conclude contracts in the name of the enterprise. There is, however, an exception in article 5.6 that provides the non-existance of a permanent establishment if the agent is independent, such as a commissionaire or a broker. In the proposed changes to the article the creation of a permanent establishment is no longer contingent on whether or not an agent has a power of attorney or signatory authority. Instead, it is sufficient if the agent has a leading roll in negotiations leading up to the conclusion of contracts. The proposed changes also state that contracts concluded by the agent no longer need to be in the name of the enterprise as long as they concern the transfer of ownership of products or services belonging to the enterprise. The explicit exception for commissionaires and brokers in article 5.6 is removed and furthermore, agents are no longer considered to be truly independent if they act exclusively or almost exclusively on behalf of one or more enterprises to whom they are closely related. While the current definition of a permanent establishment focuses on the legal capacity of the agent the proposed definition focuses on the actions of the agent, and the proposed changes could lead to numerous permanent establishments coming into existence. 

The effects of the propsed changes are uncertain as the process of implementation is yet to be determined. An ambulatory approach to the proposed changes is most likely not in accordance with statements made in doctrine, which means that current double tax agreements as well as domestic law would need to be modified.

Another action proposed within the project is the creation of a multilateral instrument with the ability to change current treaties. This would mean that existing tax conventions would be included by the changes, but it is not obvious that signing such an instrument would be advantageous and it is presently not certain that it will be signed. Conversely, it would clearly be in Sweden’s best interests to implement the new definition in domestic law if enough countries choose to sign the multilateral instrument since the relative status of a tax agreement compared to domestic law would render the current definition more or less unusable. The proposed changes are most likely going to decrease the swedish tax base but if the proposed changes are not implemented other problems may occur, such as administrative burdens and a lack of legal security.},
  author       = {Söderström, Carl-Johan},
  keyword      = {BEPS åtgärdspunkt 7,Fast Driftställe,Beroende Agent,Oberoende Agent,Skatterätt,BEPS Action 7,Permanent Establishment,Dependent Agent,Independent Agent,Tax Law},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {BEPS och fast driftställe - Hur påverkas svensk rätt av åtgärdspunkt 7?},
  year         = {2016},
}