Abstract: On 5 October 2015, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the final package of measures to reform the international tax system under the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. The BEPS project pursued 15 Action Items that concerned a broad range of international tax topics, centered around three themes: coherence, substance, and transparency and certainty.
The Action Plan to implement the BEPS project seeks to align taxation with economic activity and ensure that taxable profits cannot be artificially shifted. Action Item 6 of the Action Plan identifies treaty abuse (particularly, treaty shopping) as a principal source of concern because it enables taxpayers to gain access to tax treaty benefits in situations where the benefits were not intended.
This Comment reviews the results of the finished BEPS project, specifically focusing on Action Item 6. I find that the BEPS project made remarkable progress considering the scope and complexity of the undertaking, as well as the political and corporate interests involved. While the efforts of the OECD have been impressive in scope, ambition, and the ability to find common ground on this issue, the results of the BEPS project thus far are insufficient to truly address the problem identified in Action Item 6. Moreover, significant challenges await the OECD before it can achieve the goal that it established for this effort.