Tax treaties

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Multilateral tax treaties (2)

Canada is a party to two multilateral tax treaties: the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the Multilateral Instrument or MLI) and the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC). The MLI applies to modify many of Canada's bilateral tax treaties while the MAAC applies independently of Canada's bilateral tax treaties. Further information on these multilateral tax treaties may be obtained by clicking on the links provided below:

Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting

Background

The Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Multilateral Instrument or MLI) is a multilateral tax treaty that allows participating jurisdictions to adopt measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting and to improve the dispute resolution process under their tax treaties. In general terms, base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to tax planning strategies used by multinational enterprises to exploit gaps and mismatches in the tax rules that apply between countries.

A unique aspect of the MLI is that it does not function in the same manner as an amending protocol. An amending protocol alters the text of a treaty. The MLI, on the other hand, is read alongside the treaties to which it applies modifying those treaties in their application.

Canada became a signatory to the MLI on June 7, 2017. The MLI was enacted by Parliament through the Multilateral Instrument in Respect of Tax Conventions Act, S.C. 2019, c.12. Canada subsequently deposited its instrument of ratification with the Depositary of the MLI (OECD Secretary General) on August 29, 2019 and the MLI entered into force for Canada, in accordance with Article 34 of the MLI, on December 1, 2019.

Which of Canada's tax treaties are modified by the MLI?

The MLI modifies Canada's tax treaties that are covered by the MLI. A tax treaty is covered by the MLI if both Canada and its treaty partner have listed the treaty for purposes of the MLI and have brought the MLI into force. Canada listed its tax treaties with 84 countries for the purposes of the MLI. Most of those countries are expected to become parties to the MLI and to list their tax treaty with Canada.

It should be noted that some of Canada's tax treaties will not be covered by the MLI. For example, the United States is not a signatory to the MLI and the Canada-United States Tax Convention was not included in Canada's listed treaties.

Canada's listed tax treaties for the purposes of the MLI

1. Algeria
22. Estonia
43. Latvia
64. Russia
2. Argentina
23. Finland
44. Lithuania
65. Senegal
3. Armenia
24. France
45. Luxembourg
66. Serbia
4. Australia
25. Gabon
46. Malaysia
67. Singapore
5. Austria
26. Greece
47. Malta
68. Slovak Republic
6. Azerbaijan
27. Hong Kong
48. Mexico
69. Slovenia
7. Bangladesh
28. Hungary
49. Moldova
70. South Africa
8. Barbados
29. Iceland
50. Mongolia
71. Spain
9. Belgium
30. India
51. Morocco
72. Sri Lanka
10. Brazil
31. Indonesia
52. Netherlands
73. Sweden
11. Bulgaria
32. Ireland
53. New Zealand
74. Tanzania
12. Cameroon
33. Israel
54. Nigeria
75. Thailand
13. Chile
34. Italy
55. Norway
76. Trinidad/Tobago
14. China
35. Ivory Coast
56. Oman
77. Tunisia
15. Colombia
36. Jamaica
57. Pakistan
78. Turkey
16. Croatia
37. Japan
58. Papua New Guinea
79. Ukraine
17. Cyprus
38. Jordan
59. Peru
80. United Arab Emirates
18. Czech Republic
39. Kazakhstan
60. Philippines
81. United Kingdom
19. Denmark
40. Kenya
61. Poland
82. Vietnam
20. Dom. Republic
41. Korea, Rep. of
62. Portugal
83. Zambia
21. Egypt
42. Kuwait
63. Romania
84. Zimbabwe

Impact of the MLI on Canada's covered tax treaties

The provisions of the MLI that apply to any particular covered tax treaty are a function of the terms of the MLI and on the compatibility of the choices that Canada and its treaty partner make under the MLI. Those choices are reflected in the notifications and reservations (MLI Positions) submitted to the Depositary of the MLI by Canada and its treaty partner.

The list of signatories and parties to the MLI, along with their MLI Positions, are available on the MLI Depositary (OECD) webpage :

MLI Signatories and Parties – MLI Positions

The MLI includes provisions that embody the treaty-related minimum standards established in the course of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project (namely those provisions on treaty abuse and the improvement of the dispute resolution process) and a number of optional provisions.  A country or jurisdiction signing the MLI commits to meet the minimum standards (the MLI mirrors the requirements of the minimum standard by providing flexibility in the manner in which those standards are met). The optional provisions of the MLI (those provisions that are not part of the minimum standard) may be adopted by the parties to a covered tax agreement or a reservation may be made not to apply them.

For information on the choices made by Canada to apply specific provisions of the MLI, see:

Backgrounder to June 21, 2018 News Release

Entry into Effect

The provisions of the MLI will generally enter into effect with respect to any particular covered tax treaty:

  1. for taxes withheld at source - on the first day of the next calendar year that begins on or after the latest of the dates that the MLI enters into force for each of the parties to that treaty; and
  2. with respect to all other taxes - for taxes that are levied with respect to taxable periods beginning on or after the expiration of six calendar months from the latest of the dates that the MLI enters into force for each of the parties to that treaty.

With respect to any particular covered tax treaty, Canada's treaty partner may choose to modify the entry into effect provisions as they apply to that treaty partner (see, in this respect, Articles 35(2) and (3) of the MLI) or to reserve the right to delay the entry into effect provisions for both parties to the treaty to allow for the completion of its internal procedures (see, in this respect, Article 35(7) of the MLI). In addition, separate entry into effect provisions normally apply to modifications to the provisions of the mutual agreement procedure and to the MLI's arbitration provisions.

The entry into effect of the provisions of the MLI with respect to each covered tax treaty are described in the synthesised text to that treaty.

MLI synthesised texts of Canada's covered tax treaties

The Department of Finance is preparing texts of Canada's covered tax treaties that illustrate the impact of the MLI on those tax treaties (each referred to as a "synthesised text"). The synthesised text of a covered tax treaty will be posted under the name of Canada's treaty partner under the "List of countries" with tax treaties in force, which list is accessible at the following link:

Department of Finance: Tax treaties

Prior to posting a synthesised text, Canada's practice is to provide its treaty partner with the opportunity to review and comment on the synthesised text.

The synthesised texts are being provided for convenience of reference and are not a source of law. The applicable sources of law are the legal texts of the covered tax treaties and the MLI.

It should be noted that some of Canada's covered tax treaties may be modified by the MLI before the synthesised text for those treaties are posted.  Therefore, in the absence of a synthesised text for a particular tax treaty, taxpayers and their advisors should take steps to determine if the MLI has entered into effect with respect to the relevant provisions of that treaty and to verify the manner in which the MLI applies. It should also be noted that the synthesised text of a covered tax treaty is generally based on the MLI Positions of Canada and its treaty partner at the time that Canada and its treaty partner deposit their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval. These MLI Positions may subsequently be modified as provided under the MLI (e.g. by the withdrawal of a reservation) which may have an impact on the application of the MLI to the covered tax treaty.

Access to the MLI

The legal text of the MLI is available on the MLI (OECD) webpage :

in English: http://www.oecd.org/tax/treaties/multilateral-convention-to-implement-tax-treaty-related-measures-to-prevent-BEPS.pdf

in French: http://www.oecd.org/fr/fiscalite/conventions/convention-multilaterale-pour-la-mise-en-oeuvre-des-mesures-relatives-aux-conventions-fiscales-pour-prevenir-le-BEPS.pdf

Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

The Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC) provides for administrative co-operation between jurisdictions in the assessment and collection of taxes for the purpose of combating tax avoidance and evasion. There are currently more than 140 jurisdictions that are participating in the MAAC. In Canada, the MAAC applies to Canadian taxes imposed by the Income Tax Act, as well as certain taxes imposed under the Excise Tax Act and the Excise Act, 2001. Canada became a party to the MAAC on March 1, 2014.

The Canada Revenue Agency relies on the MAAC to support a broad platform of information exchanges with other countries including the automatic exchange of information under Country-by-Country Reporting for large multinational enterprises and the exchange of financial account information under the Common Reporting Standard. The text of the MAAC, along with the declarations and reservations deposited by Canada in respect of the MAAC, are available at the following link:

Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

Bilateral tax treaties (94)
Disclaimer: Tax treaties

The Department of Finance Canada assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any income tax treaty available on this site. The treaties on this site have been prepared for convenience of reference only and have no official sanction.

For all purposes of interpreting and applying the law, users should consult the acts implementing the treaties as passed by Parliament, which are published in the annual Statutes of Canada. The Canada Treaty Series, published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, could also be consulted.

Consult the Official sources: Where to find Canada's tax treaties page for details on locating the official versions. These publications are available in most public libraries.

List of Countries: A - E | F - J | K - O | P - T | U - Z

A - E
Algeria - Argentina - Armenia - Australia - Austria - Azerbaijan - Bangladesh - Barbados - Belgium - Brazil - Bulgaria - Cameroon - Chile - China (PRC)1 - Colombia - Croatia - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Dominican Republic - Ecuador - Egypt - Estonia

F - J
Finland - France - Gabon - Germany - Greece - Guyana - Hong Kong - Hungary - Iceland - India - Indonesia - Ireland - Israel - Italy - Ivory Coast - Jamaica - Japan - Jordan

K - O
Kazakhstan - Kenya - Korea, Rep of - Kuwait - Kyrgyzstan - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Madagascar - Malaysia - Malta - Mexico - Moldova - Mongolia - Morocco - Netherlands - New Zealand - Nigeria - Norway - Oman

P - T
Pakistan - Papua New Guinea - Peru - Philippines - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Russia - Senegal - Serbia - Singapore - Slovak Republic - Slovenia - South Africa - Spain - Sri Lanka - Sweden - Switzerland - Taiwan2 - Tanzania - Thailand - Trinidad & Tobago - Tunisia - Turkey

U - Z
Ukraine - United Arab Emirates - United Kingdom - United States - Uzbekistan - Venezuela - Vietnam - Zambia - Zimbabwe

Footnotes

1This Convention does not apply to Hong Kong.

2This is an Arrangement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income between the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada.

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