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Article

Access_open Legal Legitimacy of Tax Recommendations Delivered by the IMF in the Context of ‘Article IV Consultations’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords legitimacy, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Article IV Consultations, tax recommendations, global tax governance
Authors Sophia Murillo López
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the legal legitimacy of ‘Article IV Consultations’ performed by the IMF as part of its responsibility for surveillance under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement. The analysis focuses on tax recommendations given by the Fund to its member countries in the context of Consultations. This paper determines that these tax recommendations derive from a broad interpretation of the powers and obligations that have been agreed to in the Fund’s Articles of Agreement. Such an interpretation leads to a legitimacy deficit, as member countries of the Fund have not given their state consent to receive recommendations as to which should be the tax policies it should adopt.


Sophia Murillo López
Sophia Murillo López, LL.M, is an external PhD candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and a member of the ‘Fiscal Autonomy and its Boundaries’ research programme.
Article

Access_open The Questionable Legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords base erosion and profit shifting, OECD, G20, legitimacy, international tax reform
Authors Sissie Fung
AbstractAuthor's information

    The global financial crisis of 2008 and the following public uproar over offshore tax evasion and corporate aggressive tax planning scandals gave rise to unprecedented international cooperation on tax information exchange and coordination on corporate tax reforms. At the behest of the G20, the OECD developed a comprehensive package of ‘consensus-based’ policy reform measures aimed to curb base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinationals and to restore fairness and coherence to the international tax system. The legitimacy of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, however, has been widely challenged. This paper explores the validity of the legitimacy concerns raised by the various stakeholders regarding the OECD/G20 BEPS Project.


Sissie Fung
Ph.D. Candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and independent tax policy consultant to international organisations, including the Asian Development Bank.
Article

Access_open The Peer Review Process of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

A Critical Assessment on Authority and Legitimacy

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, exercise of regulatory authority, due process requirements, peer review reports, legitimacy
Authors Leo E.C. Neve
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes has undertaken peer reviews on the implementation of the global standard of exchange of information on request, both from the perspective of formalities available and from the perspective of actual implementation. In the review reports Global Forum advises jurisdictions on required amendments of regulations and practices. With these advices, the Global Forum exercises regulatory authority. The article assesses the legitimacy of the exercise of such authority by the Global Forum and concludes that the exercise of such authority is not legitimate for the reason that the rule of law is abused by preventing jurisdictions to adhere to due process rules.


Leo E.C. Neve
Leo Neve is a doctoral student at the Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
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

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords World Bank, legality, legitimacy, global tax governance, tax policy and tax administration reforms
Authors Uyanga Berkel-Dorlig
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.
Article

French Constitution, Droit Administratif and the Civil Code

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Droit Administratif, Civil Code, Conseil d’État, public order
Authors Zia Akhtar
AbstractAuthor's information

    Droit Administratif in France is a separate branch of law that exists in parallel to the civil and criminal law. The law has been developed from the concept of separation of powers that is ingrained in the French constitution. Its concepts derive from the Code civil that is implemented in France since its inception in the Napoleonic era and this has undergone reform that has made the role of the judges more interventionist. The highest administrative court is the Conseil d’État, which is at the apex of the machinery of administrative courts that are an important part of public law’s discourse and there is a hierarchy of courts that consider appeals and regulate the norms of conduct of state officials towards the citizens. The judges receive induction and training before taking on the role of occupation and that has been inculcated in the French administrative court judges. This article looks at the separate system of administrative law and its success in preserving the necessary checks and balances in the constitution, which it is intended to protect. This is an examination of the developing concept of French justice, the doctrine of separation of powers and civil procedural changes that enable the grievance of citizens against officials to be heard more expeditiously.


Zia Akhtar
LLB (Lon), LLM (Lon), Gray’s Inn, PhD candidate (Sussex). Zia Akhtar is a leading writer on judicial review, regulatory law and EU law. He undertakes research in the comparative law between the common law and the civil law countries.
Article

Non-Legal Considerations in the Reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECHR, Convention, human rights, subsidiarity, pretence
Authors Kacper Zajac
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses the role of non-legal considerations in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. First, it considers what legal instruments are available to the Court in interpreting the Convention Rights and why such instruments came to being in the first place. Second, the article identifies what types of non-legal considerations are taken into account by the Court and what impact they have on the Court’s decision-making process. The article argues that the Court pays considerable attention to such considerations and, in certain circumstances, it deploys available legal instruments, such as the margin of appreciation doctrine or fair balance test, to give those non-legal considerations a legal pretence. The article concludes that the importance of the non-legal factors in the decision-making process can be attributed to the vulnerable position of the European Court of Human Rights vis-à-vis the contracting states.


Kacper Zajac
Kacper Zajac is a LLM student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) specializing in European Human Rights. He graduated from Aberystwyth University with First Class Honours in 2015. Kacper has published in the area of international law and British constitutional law. He has also worked as a Researcher for the Society of Conservative Lawyers on the pamphlet ‘A Conservative Narrative on International Law: Past, Present and Future’.
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 22 June 2017, case C-126/16 (Smallsteps), Transfer of undertakings

Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging and Others – v – Smallsteps BV, Dutch case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Transfer of undertakings
Abstract

    A ‘pre-pack’ agreement is outside the scope of Article 5 of the Acquired Rights Directive. In this situation, the protection of workers guaranteed by Articles 3 and 4 of that directive is maintained.

ECJ Court Watch

Case C-133/17. Health and safety

Dănuț Podilă and Others – v – Societatea Națională de Transport Feroviar de Călători ‘CFR Călători’ SA București, reference lodged by the Romanian Curtea de Apel Cluj on 14 March 2017

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 13 July 2017, case C-354/16 (Kleinsteuber), Part-time work and sex discrimination

Ute Kleinsteuber – v – Mars GmbH, German case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Part-time work, Gender discrimination
Abstract

    Distinctions made for part-time workers in calculating occupational pension can be acceptable, as long as the calculations are based on legitimate objectives in accordance with law.

    After the transfer of an undertaking (or part of one) the new employer cannot modify the transferred workers’ wages without their consent. This decision of the Belgian Supreme Court of 14 November 2016 leaves no leeway to the transferee to unilaterally substitute certain contractual elements with new ones, even if the new salary scheme is more advantageous overall.


Cecilia Lahaye
Cecilia Lahaye is an attorney at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels (www.vow.be).
Article

2017/31 Lawful positive discrimination in favour of women (FR)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Discrimination (other), Positive discrimination
Authors Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami
AbstractAuthor's information

    Company agreement provisions granting a half-day of leave to female employees on International Women’s Day constitute lawful positive discrimination in favour of women.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux is a partner with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris (www.allenovery.com).

Susan Ekrami
Susan Ekrami is a senior associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris (www.allenovery.com).

    In an international road transport case the Dutch Appellate Court held that working from a given place is not relevant when applying the Posted Workers Directive.


Zef Even
Zef Even is a lawyer with SteensmaEven, www.steensmaeven.com, and professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Amber Zwanenburg
Amber Zwanenburg is a lecturer at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

2017/26 What is a collective agreement? (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Collective labour law, Collective agreements
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 2 June 2017, the Danish Eastern High Court decided that a statutory intervention by government was sufficient to enable derogation from the Working Time Directive (2003/88). The Directive can be derogated from by a collective agreement and although the statutory intervention was not a collective agreement, the High Court found that it was not inconsistent with that requirement.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.
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.

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.
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