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Will the Fundamental Freedoms of EC Law Impose a Most-Favoured-Nation Obligation on Tax Treaties?
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Commercial Law.
2005 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines whether the fundamental freedoms of the EC Treaty prescribe most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment. The right to MFN treatment concerns the issue whether taxpayers resident in one Member State can “cherry-pick” the most beneficial tax treaty available to other taxpayers. Two issues of fundamental impor-tance are examined in this thesis. First, whether a resident of a Member State (A) who receives income in another Member State (B), can claim from that state, the most beneficial tax treaty available to a resident of a third Member State (C). Second, whether a resident can claim from his state of residence (A), the same tax treatment as provided in a tax treaty concluded by his state of residence and another Member State (C), when this tax treaty provides better treatment in terms of avoiding double taxa-tion in the state of residence than the tax treaty applicable to the source of income (B).

The ECJ has held that discrimination arises only through the application of different rules to comparable situations or the application of the same rule to different situa-tions. The current state of EC law prohibits unequal treatment of residents and non-residents as well as residents who have exercised their rights to free movement in comparison to residents who have not. The condition is that they must be considered to be in comparable situations and that there is no objective difference to justify the difference in treatment. The ECJ has so far not ruled on the MFN issue. It is there-fore uncertain as to whether Member States are obligated to treat; 1) different non-resident taxpayers equally and, 2) whether Member States are prohibited from treat-ing their own residents differently when they exercise their rights to free movement in different Member States.

This thesis identifies the requirements for the application of MFN treatment and ex-amines in which tax treaty provisions it is possible to apply MFN treatment. The ECJ, has in its case law, concluded that the application of tax treaties must be exer-cised in accordance EC law. It can be argued that a well-functioning internal market cannot allow bilateral tax treaties to provide preferential tax treatment to residents of one Member State, while denying it to residents of the remaining Member States. However, the application of MFN treatment could have far-reaching ramifications on the Member States’ existing tax treaty network. It is therefore fair to assume, as has been stated in other doctrinal opinions, that the ECJ will approach this issue care-fully when providing its interpretation on the matter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. , p. 94
Keywords [en]
EC Direct Tax Law, International Tax Law, Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment, EC Law, Fundamental Freedoms.
National Category
Law (excluding Law and Society)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-76OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-76DiVA, id: diva2:4490
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
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Available from: 2005-06-08 Created: 2005-06-08

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