Seminar Topics

Seminar A: VAT implications of outsourcing and cost-sharing arrangement
The primary focus of the Seminar would be on neutrality in the treatment of outsourcing and cost-sharing arrangements under a VAT/GST. While neutrality is readily achieved under domestic transactions in most jurisdictions, this is often not the case under cross-border transactions because of lack of harmonization in the relevant taxation provisions. The Seminar would examine the treatment of various outsourcing and cost-sharing arrangements, e.g., toll manufacturing, contract manufacturing, services of independent and dependent agents, and cost-sharing within domestic and cross-border corporate groups (through a subsidiary or fixed establishment). In each case, we will analyze whether the arrangements result in double taxation or offer planning opportunities to avoid the non-deductible input VAT, especially in the case of financial services which are exempted under a VAT/GST.
Chair: Satya Poddar (India)

Seminar B: Indirect transfer of assets
The Seminar will focus on pertinent cross border tax issues which may arise upon indirect transfer of tangible and intangible assets. Tax policy in different countries providing for such taxation as well as the role of anti-abuse law to prevent non-taxation will be discussed. Complex tax situations which arise in such circumstances, including determination of type and location of assets, issues in valuation, computation of capital gain income, etc. will be examined. The Seminar will also deliberate upon issues in collection of such tax and suggest ways through which tax can be collected efficiently, including invocation of treaty clauses on assistance in collection of taxes, mutual exchange of information, etc.
Chair: Mukesh Butani (India)

Seminar C: The taxable residence of companies
The Seminar shall review the current status of tax rules on corporate residence including proposed legislative changes and also address issues which arise in practice during tax audits when tax authorities claim the corporate tax residence of a foreign incorporated company.
Chair: Guglielmo Maisto (Italy)

Seminar D: Judges Seminar
An interesting return to the IFA Seminars' list will be a "Judges' Seminar" in which Tax Judges from across the globe will make us privy to several "judgmental issues" and contentious matters in the international judicial arena. This Judges' Seminar, being held after of gap of ten years, will be chaired by the eminent tax jurist Mr. Soli Dastur from India. The Panel will have five prominent judges (sitting & retired) representing common law and civil law countries. Judges will share their perspective on some of the controversial issues in the interpretation of tax treaties e.g. the role of OECD/UN Commentaries as well as of "reservations" and "observations" thereon, treaty shopping, substance over form, morality & taxation, etc. In order to have a lively debate, the format of the Seminar will be part discussion part case study.
Chair: Sohrab Dastur (India)

Seminar E: IFA/OECD: Update on BEPS Work: Preventing Treaty Abuse
After an update on the ongoing work on the OECD BEPS Action Plan, the Seminar will focus on the results of the work on Action 6 of the Action Plan "preventing treaty abuse". The results of that work, which are scheduled to be released in September 2014, should include new model treaty provisions and recommendations regarding the design of domestic rules aimed at preventing the granting of treaty benefits in inappropriate circumstances. The Panel will discuss, through practical examples, the provisions and recommendation put forward by the OECD in this area.
Chair: Richard Vann (Australia)

Seminar F: UN Matters - UN and OECD differences in Model, TP etc
After a brief introduction on the mandate and position of the UN Committee of Experts on International Co-operation in Tax Matters, the Seminar will discuss the relevance of the UN Model in practice, as well as the ongoing work of the Committee on the taxation of services and on transfer pricing. Finally, a short impression will be given of the new work the Committee will undertake on the taxation of extractive industries.
Chair: Jan De Goede (Netherlands)

Seminar G: Tax issues relating to intangibles
The Seminar will attempt to review the basics of taxation on "intangibles" with an international comparative and practically oriented analysis, considering different perspectives from countries representing: a) common law / civil law traditions; b) developers/ owners / importers, of intangibles; c) OECD / non-OECD countries. Discussion will be set to determine if and when intangibles are taxable in representative jurisdictions, how the taxable basis is established, whether and how domestic tax rules interact with conventions to avoid double taxation on income and, in some cases, also with customs and VAT/GST rules.
Chair: Ricardo Escobar (Chile)

Seminar H: Recent Developments in International Taxation
This Seminar will look at a number of recent developments of significance to the international tax community not covered elsewhere on the programme. We will examine these developments with the aid of an expert Panel drawn from practice, government and academia. The final selection of topics will not be made until shortly before the Congress to ensure we do not miss any particularly crucial development.
Chair: Daniel Gutmann (France)

Seminar I: Taxation and non-tax treaties
Today's globalized reality is characterized by a wide range of cross-border relations. Apart from double tax conventions, which are the most popular and specific means of regulating cross-border tax issues, almost all countries, during the past years, have committed themselves to a large network of international non-tax agreements (of a bilateral, regional and multilateral character), ensuring the protection of significant economic and social areas. Despite the fact that the scope of these agreements does not explicitly include taxation, many of them contain provisions which may have an impact on the field of international tax law, either because they are directly addressing tax matters or due to the fact that they indirectly have important tax consequences.

The Seminar explores the interaction of taxation with international non-tax agreements, mainly regulating the fields of investment, trade and human rights and points at various areas which may be of interest to further discuss at an IFA Seminar.
Chair: Peter Barnes (USA)

Seminar J: IFA/EU: The Impact of EU Law on BEPS Initative
Is EU law helpful for the fight of countries inside and outside the European Union against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting? The European Commission has pledged to support this initiative; they have put forward several communications and recommendations against aggressive tax planning and low-tax jurisdictions and established new advisory bodies in this area. Taking a closer look it seems that both the judicature of the ECJ on the fundamental freedoms and the existing set of Directives in the field of business taxation prevent Member States from taking substantive action against cross-border tax avoidance. CFC legislation, interest allocation rules and withholding taxes are hard to be implemented in this framework. On the other hand, EU law provides hard and soft measures against preferential tax regimes (state aid law, code of conduct) which are not available elsewhere. The Seminar will discuss to what extent EU Member States and European Institutions are equipped to interfere with the BEPS phenomenon.
Chair: Jonathan Schwarz (United Kingdom)