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The Dominant Voices in Double Taxation Agreements: A Critical Analysis of the “Dividend” Article in the Agreement between Uganda and the Netherlands

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In a bid to attract foreign investment, Third World countries are increasingly concluding Double Taxation Treaties with capital-rich countries, based on either the UN model treaty convention or the OECD model. Using the example of the dividend Article in the Uganda-Netherlands treaty, the discussion in this article illustrates the increased use of tax treaties to shift income from developing to developed countries. By essentially reducing the tax rate on dividend income to nil, that treaty significantly erodes Uganda's tax base. Such agreements raise concern, especially when one takes into account the fact that investment decisions are often driven by factors external to tax, meaning that reduced tax rates do not guarantee increased investments. Worse still, because developing countries are net capital importers, the benefits accruing from such treaties are often one-sided. The paper calls for a rethinking and redrafting of the UN model convention to ensure that the taxing rights of Third World countries are strengthened. In addition, since the practical reality is that developed countries often base their agreements (even with developing countries) on the OECD model, there is a need to amend the latter model to take this reality into account.

Affiliations: 1: Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, Canada

10.1163/187197409X12525781476123
/content/journals/10.1163/187197409x12525781476123
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/content/journals/10.1163/187197409x12525781476123
2009-11-01
2016-12-02

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