Use of and variance from the United Nations model tax treaty clauses for tax treaties concluded by a group of Southern African Development Community Countries

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Africa has been experiencing significant growth over the last few years, with many seeing Africa as the next investment destination. This increased growth in international trade and investment could broaden and deepen the tax base for African countries which could be a source of additional tax revenue. In particular, the SADC comprises a group of African countries which has as one of their common goals the promotion of sustainable and equitable economic growth. One possible way of achieving this goal could be through the use of effective tax treaties, allowing for greater retention of taxing rights over income flows from FDI, which could go a long way in deepening and broadening the tax base for the SADC countries. This could assist the SADC countries in promoting the growth and development of their economies. A greater retention of taxing rights over income by the SADC countries could be achieved through the use of the UN Model. This Model has primarily been designed to assist developing countries in retaining greater taxing rights over income in order to assist with their development and growth.Therefore, this dissertation has primarily focused on the use of and variation from the UN Model treaty clauses by a group of SADC countries in order to determine the extent of the application of the provisions of the UN Model in the SADC countries’ tax treaties. This analysis has specifically considered the distributive rules of the UN Model dealing with the most common forms of income that are likely to arise from FDI, namely: business profits, income from immovable property, dividends, interest, royalties, capital gains, income from employment and pensions. The focus has been on whether the SADC countries have been able to retain greater taxing rights over these forms of income by making use of the provisions of the UN Model. However, at the same time, the analysis also considered the provisions of the OECD Model, as it recognised that the OECD Model is one of the most widely used Models for negotiating tax treaties amongst both developed and developing countries. By considering the provisions of the OECD Model in this dissertation, it has allowed for a useful and meaningful analysis of any variations from the UN Model.

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