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Article

Access_open Legality of the World Bank’s Informal Decisions to Expand into the Tax Field, and Implications of These Decisions for Its Legitimacy

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden World Bank, legality, legitimacy, global tax governance, tax policy and tax administration reforms
Auteurs Uyanga Berkel-Dorlig
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The emergence of global tax governance was triggered by common tax problems, which are now still being faced by international society of nation-states. In the creation of this framework, international institutions have been playing a major role. One of these institutions is the World Bank (Bank). However, those who write about the virtues and vices of the main creators of the framework usually disregard the Bank. This article, therefore, argues that this disregard is not justified because the Bank has also been playing a prominent role. Since two informal decisions taken in the past have contributed to this position of the Bank, the article gives in addition to it answers to the following two related questions: whether these informal decisions of the Bank were legal and if so, what implications, if any, they have for the Bank’s legitimacy.


Uyanga Berkel-Dorlig
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Tax Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

    Comparative methodology is an important and a widely used method in the legal literature. This method is important inter alia to search for alternative national rules and acquire a deeper understanding of a country’s law. According to a survey of over 500 Dutch legal scholars, 61 per cent conducts comparative research (in some form). However, the methodological application of comparative research generally leaves much to be desired. This is particularly true when it comes to case selection. This applies in particular to conceptual and dogmatic research questions, possibly also allowing causal explanations for differences between countries. This article suggests that the use of an interdisciplinary research design could be helpful, and Hofstede’s cultural-psychological dimensions can offer a solution to improve the methodology of selection criteria.


Dave van Toor
D.A.G. van Toor, PhD LLM BSc works as a researcher and lecturer in Criminal (Procedural) Law and Criminology at the Universität Bielefeld.
Artikel

Enforceability of mediation clauses in Belgium and the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Nederlands-Vlaams tijdschrift voor mediation en conflictmanagement, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Enforceability, Mediation clauses, contracts
Auteurs Ellen van Beukering-Rosmuller en Patrick Van Leynseele
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article authors discuss (possible) legal means and methods aimed at making mediation clauses effective and/or enforceable. In particular Belgian and Dutch law are examined. In part attention is also paid to English, French and Italian law. Against the background of recent EU-legislation the validity of mediation clauses is discussed as well, with a focus on consumer related disputes. By reviewing US case law with regard to the duty to participate in good faith in the mediation process, the authors also outline the limits of this concept for the effectiveness of mediation clauses. The central theme of the enforceability of mediation clauses has been looked at both from a procedural as from a financial angle. Substantial differences can be noted between the Belgian and the Dutch approach towards what courts should do when dealing with a dispute in which parties have previously agreed to mediation. Belgian law provides in art. 1725 § 2 Judicial Code that the court, if so requested by the defendant, is in principle obliged to suspend the examination of the case until the mediation has taken place. According to current case law, the situation in the Netherlands is that mediation clauses are in principle not enforceable (Supreme Court 2006). Following the most recent legislative proposal regarding mediation (July 2016) the court should examine whether mediation can still have an added value in case one party refuses to take part in a mediation as provided for in a clause invoked by the other party, prior to (possibly) proposing mediation. Based on the plans repeatedly announced by the Belgian Minister of Justice, it is likely that there will soon be an amendment to the mediation provisions in the Judicial Code that will allow courts to ‘force’ mediation upon the parties, even in the absence of a mediation clause. If this becomes the rule, judges would be well advised to exercise this power with due care. In the authors’ opinion the Dutch approach (as suggested in the most recent legislative proposal) in connection with mediation clauses, consisting in having the court examine whether mediation may (still) have an added value for the parties, could serve as a good guideline for the Belgian judges to use.


Ellen van Beukering-Rosmuller
Ellen J.M. van Beukering-Rosmuller is Universitair Docent Burgerlijk Procesrecht, Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid.

Patrick Van Leynseele
Patrick H. Van Leynseele is lid van de balies van Brussel en New York en partner in het Brussels advocatenkantoor DALDEWOLF, een referentie inzake ADR. Met als achtergrond het ondernemingsrecht werkt hij als litigator en arbiter in internationale zaken. Hij schreef verschillende artikels inzake mediation en Med-Arb in vooraanstaande juridische tijdschriften.

    The OECD BEPS Action 6 report contains a principal purpose test rule (PPT rule) for the purpose of combating abuse of tax treaties. This PPT rule is also included in the OECD Multilateral Instrument.
    The PPT rule is (amongst others) applicable when ‘it is reasonable to conclude’ that a benefit (granted by a tax treaty) was one of the principal purposes of any arrangement/transaction. This requirement contains two elements: the reasonableness test and the principal purpose test.
    In literature it is observed that (i) the reasonableness test of the PPT rule could be contrary to the European Union’s principle of legal certainty; (ii) that the OECD PPT rule gives the tax authorities too much discretion and, therefore, is not in line with EU law and (iii) there is doubt whether the OECD PPT rule contains a genuine economic activity test and therefore is in contravention of the abuse of law case law of the CJEU.
    In this contribution, I defend that none of the above-mentioned reasons the OECD PPT rule is contrary to EU law. The only potential problem I see is that the OECD PPT rule is broader (no artificiality required) compared to the GAARs in Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive and the Parent–Subsidiary Directive.


Dennis Weber
Dennis Weber is a professor of European corporate tax law at the University of Amsterdam and director and founder of the Amsterdam Centre for Tax Law (ACTL).
Article

Access_open Post-BEPS Tax Advisory and Tax Structuring from a Tax Practitioner’s View

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden BEPS, value creation, tax structuring, international taxation
Auteurs Paul Lankhorst en Harmen van Dam
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The international tax landscape is changing and it is changing fast. The political perception is that taxation of multinational enterprises is not aligned with the ‘economic activity’ that produces their profits (i.e. not aligned with ‘value creation’). The perception links ‘value creation’ with ‘employees and sales’.
    In the BEPS Project of the OECD, the OECD attempts to combat base erosion and profit shifting and to align taxation with value creation. In this article, the authors discuss the impact they expect BEPS to have on tax advisory and tax planning. The focus goes to BEPS Actions 7, 8-10 and 13.
    By maintaining the separate entity approach under BEPS for the taxation of multinationals, has the OECD been forced to ‘stretch’ existing rules beyond their limits? Will the created uncertainty lead to a shift from ‘aggressive tax planning’ by multinationals to ‘aggressive tax collection’ by tax administrations? Will the role of tax advisory change from advising on the lowest possible effective tax rate to a broader advice including risk appetite and public expectations?


Paul Lankhorst
Paul Lankhorst, MSc LLM, is tax adviser at Loyens & Loeff.

Harmen van Dam
Harmen van Dam, LLM, is tax partner at Loyens & Loeff.
Article

Access_open Corporate Taxation and BEPS: A Fair Slice for Developing Countries?

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Fairness, international tax, legitimacy, BEPS, developing countries
Auteurs Irene Burgers en Irma Mosquera
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The aim of this article is to examine the differences in perception of ‘fairness’ between developing and developed countries, which influence developing countries’ willingness to embrace the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) proposals and to recommend as to how to overcome these differences. The article provides an introduction to the background of the OECD’s BEPS initiatives (Action Plan, Low Income Countries Report, Multilateral Framework, Inclusive Framework) and the concerns of developing countries about their ability to implement BEPS (Section 1); a non-exhaustive overview of the shortcomings of the BEPS Project and its Action Plan in respect of developing countries (Section 2); arguments on why developing countries might perceive fairness in relation to corporate income taxes differently from developed countries (Section 3); and recommendations for international organisations, governments and academic researchers on where fairness in respect of developing countries should be more properly addressed (Section 4).


Irene Burgers
Irene Burgers is Professor of International and European Tax Law, Faculty of Law, and Professor of Economics of Taxation, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen.

Irma Mosquera
Irma Mosquera, Ph.D. is Senior Research Associate at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation IBFD and Tax Adviser Hamelink & Van den Tooren.
Article

2017/11 Transposition of the ‘enforcement’ directive into Belgian law

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Private international law, posting of workers and expatriates, Free movement, minimum wage/social dumping
Auteurs Gautier Busschaert
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article briefly describes the main measures adopted by Belgium in transposing the EU Directive 2014/67 of 15 May 2014 into national law.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is a lawyer at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels.
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