The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review: Editor's Preface

It is increasingly common for tax practitioners to be involved in disputes that span multiple jurisdictions. We operate in a global economy. Supply chains cross continents, and the increasing role of technology accelerates the pace at which economic activity becomes divorced from the structures intended to tax it. The pace of economic and technological change potentially increases the gap between the reality of commerce and that of taxation.

Although supranational agencies, such as the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, work hard to keep pace with change, there is an inevitable lag between intention and action. Of late we have seen individual countries start to take unilateral actions, with digital taxation being a prime example. In coming years, a combination of economic developments and unilateral actions by individual countries is likely further to emphasise the importance of double tax treaties and the OECD multilateral instrument.

As the chapters of this book were being written, there were already important changes taking place in the political landscape in the United States and Europe, and in the global economy, that will affect international cooperation on tax and trade. For example, the past year has seen a ground-breaking deal agreed by 136 countries, accounting for more than 90 per cent of global GDP, to impose a minimum tax rate of 15 per cent on multinational enterprises.

In the light of the economic effects of the global pandemic, tax authorities are under unprecedented pressure to increase tax yield, and this will only increase the pressure on tax authorities to collect what is seen as a fair share of tax from international businesses operating on their shores. For our profession, this means a likely increase in the frequency of tax disputes, an ever-increasing international element to them and the ensuing need to work more closely with international colleagues as complex, multi-jurisdictional issues arise. It comes as no surprise that the authors of many chapters continue to identify international tax issues and offshore structures as areas of key focus for their own domestic tax authorities.

Regardless of whether tax authorities increase in cooperation or increase in competition, one thing is certain: they will not stand still. Tax, and particularly the international approach to tax, is a permanent fixture on the political agenda. The resulting frequent (and sometimes abrupt) changes in key elements of tax law inevitably lead to high value and complex disputes which often take many years to resolve.

The purpose of this book is to provide insight into the issues that give rise to tax disputes in different jurisdictions, the procedures for resolving those disputes and the powers and approach of local tax authorities. It is hoped that it will provide valuable insight into the process, timescale and cost of resolving complex difficulties when they arise across more than one jurisdiction.

We are lucky to have contributions from many leading and impressive tax practitioners across a wide range of jurisdictions. Each provides an up-to-date insight into dealing with contentious tax issues in their jurisdiction. I have enjoyed and learned from reading their contributions and I hope you will do, too.

I would like to thank my colleagues Victor Cramer, Lee Ellis and Cristiana Bulbuc for their valuable assistance in compiling this edition.

David Pickstone
February 2022

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