Double taxation occurs when local legislation results in taxes being levied on the same income, capital gains or company profits in more than one country. This can be mitigated through the use of double tax treaties or through unilateral relief, where no treaty exists or where a treaty does not cover the category of tax involved.
The circumstances in which double taxation can occur are many and varied. A few examples include:
- an individual or company considered to be resident in more than one country and taxed in both
- an individual resident in one country but receiving income from abroad (e.g. dividend payments, pensions, rental income)
- a company with branches around the world finding its branch profits taxed in each jurisdiction as well as in its home country
Tracking down the text of a treaty can sometimes be tricky, particularly where the treaty texts were not prepared with English language versions. In this guide we have suggested some good places to start your search.
Where can I find a double tax treaty?
UK double tax treaties
HMRC maintain a collection of the UK's tax treaties. It includes treaties that have been signed but are not yet in force. Superseded tax treaties are available through the website of the National Archives or through databases such as the IBFD Tax Research platform.
A handy Digest of Double Taxation Treaties from HMRC gives the relevant treaty rates with cross references to the relevant texts.
Other double tax treaties
Our tax by country pages include details of any online sources for double tax treaties that the library team are aware of. If the tax treaty you are interested in is not included, or you are not sure whether a treaty exists between two countries, a tax database such as the IBFD Tax Research platform can help fill the gap.
How the library can help
The ICAEW Library subscribes to an international tax research platform from IBFD which provides access to a collection of around 10,000 double tax treaties that are currently in force. These are available to ICAEW members and ACA students on request, along with a range of material that can help you to interpret and apply them. Treaties are supplied by email.
The IBFD platform includes the text of tax treaties in the languages they were officially prepared but also provides unofficial translations where no English language version exists (e.g. the Belarus – Russia Income and Capital Tax Treaty 1995). In addition to this, the platform includes summaries/decisions of 8,000 cases relating to tax treaties, quick reference tables for treaty withholding rates and country analyses/surveys covering individuals and corporations.
The library team can also help with material on related subjects, including books on expatriate tax planning, offshore tax, residence and domicile.
If you are having difficulty locating a treaty please call the Enquiry Desk on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, talk to us on web chat or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interpretation and application
The library collection includes many key works on the interpretation and application of double tax treaties, as well as specialised titles focusing on international tax disputes relating to double tax conventions and strategic tax planning using double tax treaties.
Our collection includes many articles and books focusing on double taxation, international taxation and questions of residence.
Expatriate Tax Planning
Amanda Sullivan, 2019
A practical title intended to help with the planning of international assignments. Chapter 7 takes the reader through the reasons for the double taxation of earnings, the background to double tax treaty relief and the practical application of tax treaties. Planning points are highlighted throughout the chapter.
UK Tax Treaties
Alastair Munro, 2013
The focus of this work is on the practical interpretation of the UK's double tax treaties and domestic rules concerning relief from double taxation. The introduction provides the historic background to double taxation, a useful overview of basic principles and examples of the double taxation of income and capital gains tax.
Back to basics: Double tax treaties
Tax Journal, 20 April 2012.
A helpful outline of the scope of double tax treaties, touching on limitation on benefits and domestic tax provisions which override a treaty.
More articles and books
To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.
You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports through our document supply service.
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