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Article

Access_open Evidence-Based Regulation and the Translation from Empirical Data to Normative Choices: A Proportionality Test

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords evidence-based, regulation, proportionality, empirical law studies, law and society studies
Authors Rob van Gestel and Peter van Lochem
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies have shown that the effects of scientific research on law and policy making are often fairly limited. Different reasons can be given for this: scientists are better at falsifying hypothesis than at predicting the future, the outcomes of academic research and empirical evidence can be inconclusive or even contradictory, the timing of the legislative cycle and the production of research show mismatches, there can be clashes between the political rationality and the economic or scientific rationality in the law making process et cetera. There is one ‘wicked’ methodological problem, though, that affects all regulatory policy making, namely: the ‘jump’ from empirical facts (e.g. there are too few organ donors in the Netherlands and the voluntary registration system is not working) to normative recommendations of what the law should regulate (e.g. we need to change the default rule so that everybody in principle becomes an organ donor unless one opts out). We are interested in how this translation process takes place and whether it could make a difference if the empirical research on which legislative drafts are build is more quantitative type of research or more qualitative. That is why we have selected two cases in which either type of research played a role during the drafting phase. We use the lens of the proportionality principle in order to see how empirical data and scientific evidence are used by legislative drafters to justify normative choices in the design of new laws.


Rob van Gestel
Rob van Gestel is professor of theory and methods of regulation at Tilburg University.

Peter van Lochem
Dr. Peter van Lochem is jurist and sociologist and former director of the Academy for Legislation.
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

Access_open Evaluating BEPS

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 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 1 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 1 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 1 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

Access_open Brazilian Civil Procedure in the ‘Age of Austerity’?

Effectiveness, Speed, and Legal Certainty: Small Claims, Uncontested Claims, and Simplification of Judicial Decisions and Proceedings

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords austerity, civil procedure, access to justice, Brazil, small claims
Authors Antonio Gidi and Hermes Zaneti, Jr.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The current debate in Brazilian Civil Procedure revolves around efficiency, legal certainty, and access to justice, not austerity. As a matter of fact, the debate over austerity is nonexistent in Brazil so far. By expanding the access to justice to a broader portion of the society, the legal system increased the number of cases and the costs associated with the judicial system. But the excess litigation and expense associated with the expansion of access to justice has contradictorily curtailed access to justice. This new situation demands new efforts to increase efficiency and legal certainty, while still increasing access to justice.


Antonio Gidi
Antonio Gidi is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Syracuse University. SJD, University of Pennsylvania Law School; LLM and PhD, PUC-SP University; LLB, Federal University of Bahia.

Hermes Zaneti, Jr.
Hermes Zaneti, Jr. is Professor of Law at the Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo and Prosecutor. PhD in Philosophy and Theory of Law, Università degli Studi di Roma Tre; LLM and PhD in Civil Procedure, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRS).
Article

Access_open Expounding the Place of Legal Doctrinal Methods in Legal-Interdisciplinary Research

Experiences with Studying the Practice of Independent Accountability Mechanisms at Multilateral Development Banks

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2015
Authors Andria Naudé Fourie
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a distinct place for legal doctrinal methods in legal-interdisciplinary research methodologies, but there is value to be had in expounding that place – in developing a deeper understanding, for instance, of what legal doctrinal analysis has to offer, wherein lies its limitations, and how it could work in concert with methods and theories from disciplinary areas other than law. This article offers such perspectives, based on experiences with an ‘advanced’ legal-interdisciplinary methodology, which facilitates a long-term study of the growing body of practice generated by citizen-driven, independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs) that are institutionally affiliated with multilateral development banks. The article demonstrates how legal doctrinal methods have contributed towards the design and development of a multipurpose IAM-practice database. This database constitutes the analytical platform of the research project and also facilitates the integration of various types of research questions, methods and theories.


Andria Naudé Fourie
Research Associate, Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of Law.
Article

Access_open Tax Competition within the European Union – Is the CCCTB Directive a Solution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax competition, tax planning, European Union, Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, factor manipulation
Authors Maarten de Wilde LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    The author addresses the phenomenon of taxable profit-shifting operations undertaken by multinationals in response to countries competing for corporate tax bases within the European Union. The central question is whether this might be a relic of the past when the European Commission’s proposal for a Council Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base sees the light of day. Or would the EU-wide corporate tax system provide incentives for multinationals to pursue artificial tax base-shifting practices within the EU, potentially invigorating the risk of undue governmental tax competition responses? The author’s tentative answer on the potential for artificial base shifting and undue tax competition is in the affirmative. Today, the issue of harmful tax competition within the EU seems to have been pushed back as a result of the soft law approaches that were initiated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But things might change if the CCCTB proposal as currently drafted enters into force. There may be a risk that substantial parts of the EU tax base would instantly become mobile as of that day. As the EU Member States at that time seem to have only a single tool available to respond to this – the tax rate – that may perhaps initiate an undesirable race for the EU tax base, at least theoretically.


Maarten de Wilde LL.M
LL.M, Researcher/lecturer, Erasmus University Rotterdam (<dewilde@law.eur.nl>), lecturer, University of Amsterdam, tax lawyer, Loyens & Loeff NV, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This article was written as part of the Erasmus School of Law research programme on ‘Fiscal Autonomy and Its Boundaries’. The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft of this article.
Article

Access_open Company Tax Integration in the European Union during Economic Crisis – Why and How?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords company tax harmonisation, EU law, Internal Market, taxation policies
Authors Anna Sting LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    Company tax integration in the EU is yet to be realised. This article first outlines the main benefits of company tax integration for the Economic and Monetary Union, and also discusses the main legal obstacles the EU Treaties pose for harmonisation of company tax. The main problem identified is the unanimity requirement in the legal basis of Article 115 TFEU. As this requirement is currently not feasible in the political climate of the debt crisis, this article assesses possible reasons for and ways to further fiscal integration. It considers Treaty change, enhanced cooperation, soft law approaches and also indirect harmonisation through the new system of economic governance. Eventually, a possible non-EU option is considered. However, this article recommends making use of the current EU law framework, such as soft law approaches and the system of the new economic governance to achieve a more subtle and less intrusive tax harmonisation, or instead a Treaty change that would legitimately enhance and further economic integration in the field of taxation.


Anna Sting LL.M
PhD Candidate at the Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank the organisers of the seminar on Company Tax Integration in the European Union, as well as the participants of the seminar of 11 June 2013 for their comments, as well as Prof. Fabian Amtenbrink for comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
Article

Access_open The Effect of 'Excessive’ Tax Planning and Tax Setting on Welfare: Action Needed?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax planning, optimal taxation, tax competition, corporate taxation
Authors Hendrik Vrijburg Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a literature review on the welfare effects of excessive company taxation practices. The article intends to structure the debate by sketching a conceptual framework of thought for the topic under consideration and places the existing literature within this framework. The article ends with a thought-provoking discussion between two extreme papers in the literature, one against tax planning and one in favour. The discussion is concluded by identifying the fundamental differences in assumptions underlying both approaches.


Hendrik Vrijburg Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Phone: +31-10-408-1485, Fax: +31-10-408-9031, email: vrijburg@ese.eur.nl.
Article

Access_open Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Treaty-Based Settlement of Terrorism-Related Disputes in the Era of Active United Nations Security Council Involvement

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Terrorism, inter-state dispute, international treaties, the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice
Authors Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The United Nations Security Council has become a crucial actor in international counterterrorism by not only spurring the taking of preventive and suppressive measures against terrorist individuals and groups, but also by taking actions against states that are said to stand in the way. The Security Council's actions against such states invariably arise from accusations by other states, such as accusations of refusal to extradite suspects of terrorism or responsibility for supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, most such issues of dispute are covered under international treaties relating to terrorism, which provide for political (negotiation) and judicial (arbitration and adjudication) mechanisms of dispute settlement. The Security Council's actions against states in connection with terrorism, therefore, involve (explicit or implicit) factual and legal determinations that affect the legal positions of the disputing states under the applicable international treaties relating to terrorism. The point of departure of this paper is that, in this respect, the Security Council effectively becomes an alternative to the treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms. The article centrally contends that the Security Council effectively acts as a more attractive alternative to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms for pursuing terrorism-related (legal) disputes between states, without providing a meaningful platform of disputation that is based on equality of the parties. And the Security Council's relative attractiveness, arising from the discursive and legal superiority its decisions enjoy and the relative convenience and expediency with which those decisions are delivered, entails the rendering of resort to treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanisms of little legal consequence. The point of concern the article aims to highlight is the lack of platform of disputation some states are faced with, trapped between a hostile Security Council that makes determinations and decisions of legal consequence and an unhelpful treaty-based dispute-settlement mechanism.


Nathanael Tilahun Ali LL.M.
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus School of Law. E: ali@law.eur.nl. I would like to thank Prof. Xandra Kramer and Prof. Ellen Hey for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.

Roger Van den Bergh
Guest editor, Professor of Law and Economics and Director of the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics (RILE), School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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