Albania and OECD sign agreement on tax treaties

Albania and OECD sign agreement on tax treaties

Yesterday, Albania signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the Convention), becoming the 88th jurisdiction to join the Convention, which now covers almost 1,530 bilateral tax treaties. Mr. Elton Haxhi, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy of Albania, signed the Convention in presence of Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance of France, at the opening of the 7th meeting of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS held in Paris.

The Convention is the first multilateral treaty of its kind, allowing jurisdictions to integrate results from the OECD/G20 BEPS Project into their existing networks of bilateral tax treaties. The OECD/G20 BEPS Project delivers solutions for governments to close the gaps in existing international rules that allow corporate profits to “disappear” or be artificially shifted to low or no tax environments, where companies have little or no economic activity. Treaty shopping, in particular, is estimated to reduce the effective withholding tax rate by more than 5 percentage points from nearly 8% to 3%, generating large revenue losses for developed and developing countries alike. The Convention became effective on 1 January 2019 and now applies to 51 tax treaties concluded among the 25 jurisdictions that have already deposited their acceptance or ratification instrument.

The Convention, negotiated by more than 100 countries and jurisdictions under a mandate from the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, is one of the most prominent results of the OECD/G20 BEPS project. It is the world’s leading instrument for updating bilateral tax treaties and reducing opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises. Measures included in the Convention address treaty abuse, strategies to avoid the creation of a “permanent establishment”, and hybrid mismatch arrangements. The Convention also enhances the dispute resolution mechanism, especially through the addition of an optional provision on mandatory binding arbitration, which has been taken up by 28 jurisdictions.