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Article

Access_open Evaluating BEPS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 08 2017
Keywords tax avoidance, tax evasion, benefits principle
Authors Reuven S. Avi-Yonah and Haiyan Xu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article evaluates the recently completed Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the G20 and OECD and offers some alternatives for reform.


Reuven S. Avi-Yonah
Reuven Avi-Yonah is Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law, the University of Michigan.

Haiyan Xu
Haiyan Xu is Professor of Law, University of International Business & Economics, Beijing; SJD candidate, the University of Michigan.

    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 The Integrity of the Tax System after BEPS: A Shared Responsibility

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 08 2017
Keywords flawed legislation, tax privileges, tax planning, corporate social responsibility, tax professionals
Authors Hans Gribnau
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international tax system is the result of the interaction of different actors who share the responsibility for its integrity. States and multinational corporations both enjoy to a certain extent freedom of choice with regard to their tax behaviour – which entails moral responsibility. Making, interpreting and using tax rules therefore is inevitably a matter of exercising responsibility. Both should abstain from viewing tax laws as a bunch of technical rules to be used as a tool without any intrinsic moral or legal value. States bear primary responsibility for the integrity of the international tax system. They should become more reticent in their use of tax as regulatory instrument – competing with one another for multinationals’ investment. They should also act more responsibly by cooperating to make better rules to prevent aggressive tax planning, which entails a shift in tax payments from very expert taxpayers to other taxpayers. Here, the distributive justice of the tax system and a level playing field should be guaranteed. Multinationals should abstain from putting pressure on states and lobbying for favourable tax rules that disproportionally affect other taxpayers – SMEs and individual taxpayers alike. Multinationals and their tax advisers should avoid irresponsible conduct by not aiming to pay a minimalist amount of (corporate income) taxes – merely staying within the boundaries of the letter of the law. Especially CSR-corporations should assume the responsibility for the integrity of the tax system.


Hans Gribnau
Professor of Tax Law, Fiscal Institute and the Center for Company Law, Tilburg University; Professor of Tax Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Article

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

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 08 2017
Keywords BEPS, value creation, tax structuring, international taxation
Authors Paul Lankhorst and Harmen van Dam
AbstractAuthor's information

    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?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 08 2017
Keywords Fairness, international tax, legitimacy, BEPS, developing countries
Authors Irene Burgers and Irma Mosquera
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.

Maarten Floris de Wilde
PhD, LLM, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Loyens & Loeff.
Article

Get Your Money’s Worth from Investment Advice

Analysing the Clash over the Knowledge and Competence Requirements in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II)

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords Better Regulation, ESMA, financial regulation, expertise, MiFID II
Authors Aneta Spendzharova, Elissaveta Radulova and Kate Surala
AbstractAuthor's information

    This special issue aims to examine whether there is an enduring politicization in the European Union (EU) “Better Regulation” agenda despite the emphasis on neutral evidence-based policy making. Our article addresses this overarching research question by focusing on the use of stakeholder consultations in the case of financial sector governance, particularly, the amended Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). We show that calibrating key provisions in MiFID II, such as those concerning knowledge and expertise, is not a simple exercise in rational problem definition and policy design. The provisions examined in this article have important repercussions for financial sector firms’ business strategies and operations. Thus, investment firms, banks, training institutes and public organizations have mobilized and actively sought to assert their views on the appropriate requirements for professional knowledge and experience in MiFID II. We found that, following the stakeholder consultation, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) opted for a minimum harmonization approach at the EU level. At the same time, ESMA also supported giving the respective national competent authorities sufficient remit to issue additional requirements in accordance with national laws and regulatory practices. Our article demonstrates that while public consultations provide rich evidence for the policy making process, they also contribute to the lasting politicization of regulatory decisions.


Aneta Spendzharova
Aneta Spendzharova is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Elissaveta Radulova
Elissaveta Radulova is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Kate Surala
Kate Surala is a graduate student in the MSc in Law and Finance, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, UK.
Article

Consultations, Citizen Narratives and Evidence-Based Regulation

The Strange Case of the Consultation on the Collaborative Economy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords Better Regulation, consultations, evidence-based lawmaking, sharing economy, narratives
Authors Sofia Ranchordás
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 2015 Better Regulation Communication advocates an evidence-based approach to regulation, which includes better consultations and broader civic engagement. In this article, I consider the recent EU public consultation on the regulatory environment of online platforms and the collaborative economy. I enquire in this context whether citizens were seriously regarded as evidence providers and how their knowledge that materialized in individual narratives could contribute to more legitimate and thus better regulation. I argue that an evidence-based approach to regulation should also include citizen narratives as they can provide first-hand and diverse perspectives, which might not be considered in standard consultation questions. I contend that citizen narratives can be particularly useful in complex and rapidly evolving fields where there is still little empirical evidence and where participants are likely to have diverse personal experiences. Drawing on the literature on narratives, I contend that this method of collecting information can help regulators identify new problems and structure solutions in rapidly changing and diverse regulatory fields such as the collaborative economy.


Sofia Ranchordás
Sofia Ranchordás is an Assistant Professor of Administrative and Constitutional Law at Leiden Law School, the Netherlands, and Affiliated Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.
Article

The Politicization of ex post Policy Evaluation in the EU

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords policy evaluation, Better Regulation, participation, REFIT, politicization
Authors Stijn Smismans
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Commission’s 2015 Better Regulation package has placed ex post evaluation at the centre of European governance. This strengthens a trend of gradual politicization of evaluation in European policymaking. This article analyses how the European Commission’s approach to ex post policy evaluation has changed over the last decade. It shows how evaluation has developed from a rather technical process to a more politicized process, which is clearly linked to political priority setting, subject to centralized control, and involving a wider set of actors. At the same time, the Commission avoids a profound debate on the merits and objectives of the process of evaluation itself. The article concludes on the merits and risks of evaluation at times of rising populism.


Stijn Smismans
Stijn Smismans is a professor of law at the School of Law and Politics and director of the Centre for European Law and Governance at Cardiff University.
Editorial

The European Union’s New “Better Regulation” Agenda: Between Procedures and Politics

Introduction to the Special Issue

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Authors Mariolina Eliantonio and Aneta Spendzharova
Author's information

Mariolina Eliantonio
Mariolina Eliantonio is Associate Professor of European Administrative Law at Maastricht University.

Aneta Spendzharova
Aneta Spendzharova is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Maastricht University.
Article

Regulatory Review of European Commission Impact Assessments

What Kind for Which Better Regulation Scenario?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords impact assessment, Better Regulation, non-judicial review, regulatory scrutiny, European Union
Authors Anne C.M. Meuwese
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article maps the various ways in which review of Commission impact assessments takes place by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, the European Ombudsman, the European Court of Auditors, and the Court of Justice of the European Union, among others, and assesses the effect these review activities have on the framework and functioning of this primary Better Regulation tool.


Anne C.M. Meuwese
Tilburg Law School, The Netherlands, Professor of European and Comparative Public Law.
Article

Why Better Regulation Demands Better Scrutiny of Results

The European Parliament’s Use of Performance Audits by the European Court of Auditors in ex post Impact Assessment

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords EU budget, European Parliamentary Research Service, policy evaluation, scrutiny, oversight
Authors Paul Stephenson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ex post impact assessment (traditionally considered part of policy evaluation) received less attention in the preceding ‘Better Regulation’ package (2011) than ex ante impact assessment. Yet, the insights generated through ex post impact assessment provide crucial input for streamlining legislation. In recognition of its contribution, the current agenda (2015) extends the reach to policy evaluation, and from financial instruments to regulatory instruments. In light of existing experience with impact assessments in Commission Directorates-General (DGs), the European Union (EU) institutions have been increasingly aware of the need to develop staff expertise in ex post (policy) evaluation, which has in the past been largely outsourced to external parties. Making sense of collected input and incorporating it within impact assessment is time consuming. Indeed, taking up the findings for practical use is a challenge for political decision makers but essential for the purposes of accountability, scrutiny and institutional learning. The challenge is more so, given the wealth of information being generated by multiple parties and the increasing technical and financial complexity of certain policy areas. The role of the Commission as an advocate of ‘Better Regulation’ has been studied extensively. However, we know relatively little about the role of the European Parliament (EP) in ex post evaluation. This article contributes to the literature on ‘Better Regulation in the EU’ by shedding light on the EP activities in the realm of scrutiny and evaluation. In particular, it looks at the Parliament’s use of special reports produced by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) through its performance audit work and how it takes on board the findings and recommendations in its scrutiny of budgetary spending. Moreover, it examines the emerging role of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in monitoring the outputs of the ECA and other bodies engaged in audit and evaluation, and thereby, the way in which the EPRS is helping increase the Parliament’s capacity for scrutiny and oversight.


Paul Stephenson
Maastricht University.
Article

Alternative Forms of Regulation: Are They Really ‘Better’ Regulation?

A Case Study of the European Standardization Process

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords Better Regulation, co-regulation, standardization, judicial review
Authors Mariolina Eliantonio
AbstractAuthor's information

    One of the commitments of the Better Regulation Package is to consider ‘both regulatory and well-designed non-regulatory means’. Such mechanisms include co-regulation, i.e. administrative processes which involve the participation of private parties, such as the social partners or the standardization bodies, as (co-)decision makers. While the involvement of private parties in European Union (EU) administrative governance has the clear advantage of delivering policies which are based on the expertise of the regulatees themselves, private-party rule-making raises significant concerns in terms of its legitimacy. This article aims to discuss the gaps of judicial protection which exist in co-regulation mechanisms, by taking the case study of the standardization process. After an introduction to the issue of co-regulation and the rationale for the involvement of private parties in EU administrative governance, the standardization process will be examined and the mechanisms of judicial supervision will be reviewed in order to establish the possible gaps of judicial protection.


Mariolina Eliantonio
Dr. M. Eliantonio is an associate professor of European Administrative Law at the Law Faculty of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Article

Private Regulation in EU Better Regulation

Past Performance and Future Promises

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords Better Regulation, private regulation, self-regulation, co-regulation, impact assessment
Authors Paul Verbruggen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The promotion of private regulation is frequently part of better regulation programmes. Also the Better Regulation programme of the European Union (EU) initiated in 2002 advocated forms of private regulation as important means to improve EU law-making activities. However, for various reasons the ambition to encourage private regulation as a genuine governance response to policy issues has remained a paper reality. This contribution asks whether and to what extent the 2015 EU Agenda on Better Regulation provides renewed guidance on how private regulation might be integrated in EU law-making processes. To that end, it builds on previous (empirical) research conducted on European private regulation and reviews the principal policy documents constituting the new EU agenda on better regulation. It is argued that while the new agenda addresses a number of the shortcomings of the old programme concerning the conceptualization and practice of private regulation in the EU, it still falls short of providing principled guidance on how private regulation can be combined and integrated in EU law-making.


Paul Verbruggen
Tilburg University, The Netherlands, Assistant Professor of Global and Comparative Private Law. I thank the participants to the seminar, the editors of this special issue, and Thomas van Golen for their helpful comments and suggestions. All errors are mine.

    This case report concerns the lawfulness of a notified boycott against Holship Norge AS (‘Holship’) by the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (‘NTF’). In its decision, the Supreme Court considered whether the collective agreement exemption from competition law could be applied, and whether the boycott was unlawful pursuant to the right to freedom of establishment established by Article 31 of the EEA Agreement, cf. Article 101 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
    The boycott would prevent Holship’s staff from loading and unloading ships docked at the Port of Drammen. NTF’s purpose was to force Holship to enter into a collective agreement containing a priority of engagement clause, reserving loading and unloading work for dockworkers associated with the Administration Office for Dock Work in Drammen. The majority of the plenary Supreme Court found (10-7) that such boycott would be unlawful pursuant to section 2 of the Boycott Act. The dissent concerns the EEA rules.


Kurt Weltzien
Kurt Weltzien is a lawyer in NHO, which is the main representative organisation for Norwegian employers. He has a PhD on the thesis “Boycott in labour conflicts”. Kurt Weltzien also represented NHO in the Supreme Court in the case discussed in this case report.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is an associate with Advokatfirmaet Selmer DA in Oslo.
Article

2017/12 Court of Appeal rejects argument that Christmas strikes are unlawful under EU law (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Collective labour law, industrial actions, unions
Authors Vince Toman and David Hopper
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of Appeal has confirmed that industrial action called with the object or purpose of infringing the cross-border freedom to establish and receive services would be unlawful. It rejected the argument that industrial action would be unlawful if it made it unattractive for foreign companies to operate in the UK or if cross-border services might potentially be disrupted. These wider tests would be inconsistent with European case law on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) and would be incompatible with proper protection of the right to strike.


Vince Toman

David Hopper
Vince Toman and David Hopper are respectively Head of the Trade Union and Collective Employment Law Group and Senior Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 27 April 2017, case C-680/15 (Asklepios Kliniken), Transfer of undertakings

Asklepios Kliniken Langen-Seligenstadt GmbH and Asklepios Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH – v – Ivan Felja and Vittoria Graf, German case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Transfer of undertakings, employment terms
Abstract

    ‘Dynamic’ referral clauses have effect after the transfer of an undertaking, if national law provides for the possibility for the transferee to make changes both consensually and unilaterally.

Article

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

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Private international law, posting of workers and expatriates, Free movement, minimum wage/social dumping
Authors Gautier Busschaert
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.
Article

2017/19 Sureties for alleged breaches of the Austrian Anti-Wage and Social Dumping Law (AT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Minimum wage/social dumping, Posted Workers Directive
Authors Hans Georg Laimer and Lukas Wieser
AbstractAuthor's information

    A surety can be imposed on an Austrian contractor retaining the services of a foreign company, if the foreign company is accused of breaching the Austrian Anti-Wage and Social Dumping Law and if the enforcement of a penalty outside Austria would be extremely difficult or impossible. Any risk assessment of this should based on not only what law is in place but whether it is routinely being applied. The Austrian Supreme Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof) ruled that a surety should be imposed on a domestic contractor in relation to violations by a Hungarian suspect, even though law enforcement regulations are in place between Austria and Hungary (but just not applied in practice).


Hans Georg Laimer

Lukas Wieser
Hans Georg Laimer and Lukas Wieser are respectively a partner and an attorney at Law at zeiler.partners Rechtsanwaelte GmbH in Vienna.
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ (Grand Chamber) 14 March 2017, case C-188/15 (Bougnaoui), Religious discrimination

Asma Bougnaoui and Association de défense des droits de l’homme (Association for the Defence of Human Rights) – v – Micropole SA, formerly Micropole Univers SA, French case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Religious discrimination
Abstract

    The concept of a ‘genuine and determining occupational requirement’ within the meaning of Article 4 of Directive 2000/78 does not cover subjective considerations, such as the willingness of an employer to take account of customers’ wishes.

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