LEANZ, Law and Economics in New Zealand

Next Auckland Seminar

Next Auckland Seminar


Topic:             Responses to Tax Treaty Shopping: A Canadian Perspective

Speaker:         David Duff

Date:               Tuesday 15 July 2014

Venue:            Kensington Swan, 18 Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland

Time:               5.15 pm for 5.30 pm start, followed by refreshments

RSVP:             email: edward.willis@webbhenderson.com


About the topic:   

In its current initiative on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has described the abuse of tax treaties as “one of the most important” concerns. Among various measures included in a recent Public Discussion Draft, the OECD recommends specific limitation of benefit (LOB) provisions in tax treaties, as well as more general anti-abuse rules designed to backstop these more specific rules.

In Canada, tax authorities have unsuccessfully challenged tax treaty shopping through the domestic general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) and the treaty-based concept of beneficial ownership. In response to judicial defeats, the federal government’s 2014 Budget proposed to introduce a domestic anti-avoidance rule that would apply to all tax treaties, and generally disallow tax treaty benefits to any person “if it is reasonable to conclude that one of the main purposes for undertaking a transaction or a series of transactions or events, that results in the benefit was for the person to obtain the benefit.” This presentation will evaluate this response to tax treaty shopping, in light of experience in Canada and other countries.

About the speaker:  

David G. Duff joined the UBC Faculty of Law in July 2009 after visiting at the Faculty during the 2008-09 academic year. From 1996 to 2008, Professor Duff taught tax law and policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Prior to this, he was a tax associate at the Toronto office of Stikeman, Elliott. He was also employed as a researcher with the Ontario Fair Tax Commission from 1991 to 1993 and as a tax policy analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Finance from 1993 to 1994. Professor Duff has an LL.M. from Harvard and an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, master’s degrees in political theory from the University of Toronto and economics from York University, and a B.A. (Honours) from Queen’s University. Professor Duff’s visit to New Zealand is sponsored by the New Zealand Law Foundation.

There will be time for questions and debate after the presentation.


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