Rethinking Treaty Shopping: Lessons for the European Union

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, University of Michigan Law School
Christiana H. Panayi

Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.


Whilst treaty shopping is not a new phenomenon, it remains as controversial as ever. It would seem that the more countries try to deal with it, the wider the disagreements as to what is improper treaty shopping and what is legitimate tax planning.

In this paper, we reassess the traditional quasi-definitions of treaty-shopping in an attempt to delineate the contours of such practices. We examine the various theoretical arguments advanced to justify the campaign against treaty-shopping and we assess the extent to which these concerns are addressed by the OECD and the US Model.

We also consider the current trends in treaty-shopping and the anti-treaty-shopping policies under the OECD Model and the US Model. We focus on recent cases on beneficial ownership. Finally, we examine the possible implications of European Union law on the treaty-shopping debate.