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History of tax treaty database

OECD, In­sti­tute for Aus­trian and In­ter­na­tional Tax Law Vi­enna (WU), IBFD, Uni­versità Cat­tol­ica del Sacro Cuore and IFA Ca­na­dian Bran­chare proud to present the "His­tory of Tax Treat­ies Data­base" o­n the his­tory of tax treat­ies and their pro­vi­sions.

About the His­tory of Tax Treat­ies Data Base

The His­tory of Tax Treat­ies Data Base is a not-­for-­profit pro­ject with many fath­ers, who con­trib­uted in many dif­fer­ent ways, but who all had in com­mon that they were and still are deeply in­volved in teach­ing, re­search­ing or prac­ti­cing in­ter­na­tional tax­a­tion. The start of the data base at the oc­ca­sion of the cel­eb­ra­tion of the 50th an­niversary of the first draft of the OECD Model Tax Con­ven­tion, o­n Septem­ber 8, 2008, is no co­in­cid­ence. In­terest in in­ter­na­tional tax­a­tion has grown as the tax treaty net­work, based o­n the OECD Model Con­ven­tion, ex­pan­ded all over the world. While the im­port­ance of tax treaty prac­tice in­creased ex­po­nen­tially, so did the need for cor­rect treaty in­ter­pret­a­tion. His­tor­ical doc­u­ments can be of great value in this re­spect. In par­tic­u­lar the ques­tion of tax treaty pro­vi­sions over time be­came more sig­ni­fic­ant, as it was not easy to ad­apt treaty texts or pro­to­cols to the chan­ging de­mands of in­ter­na­tional trade and the ever faster amend­ments of na­tional tax laws.

That is why, some time ago, a pro­ject was con­ceived to open, at no charge to the pub­lic, all his­toric and of­fi­cial doc­u­ments draf­ted in pre­par­a­tion of the text, not o­nly of the OECD Model Con­ven­tion of 1963, but also of the older con­ven­tion draf­ted un­der the League of Na­tions. The of­fi­cial texts are made avail­able in the two lan­guages in which they have been draf­ted: Eng­lish and French. The data base con­tains several search func­tions based (1) o­n lan­guage, (2) o­n chro­no­lo­gical order, (3) o­n the refer­ence of doc­u­ments and (4) the com­mit­tee or de­part­ment deal­ing with the doc­u­ment and (5) last but not least a full text re­search func­tion in French and Eng­lish.

In ad­di­tion the data base con­tains a con­tact fa­cil­ity, per­mit­ting users to con­tact the part­ner or­gan­iz­a­tions, ini­ti­at­ors of this pro­ject, but also other users of the data base. The aim of this con­tact fa­cil­ity is to stim­u­late dis­cus­sion. The role of the part­ner or­gan­iz­a­tions is strictly lim­ited to poli­cing the con­tact fa­cil­ity. There is no com­mit­ment from their side to par­ti­cip­ate as an or­gan­iz­a­tion in the dis­cus­sion. However in­di­vidual mem­bers of the part­ner or­gan­iz­a­tions are free to par­ti­cip­ate.

The main pur­pose of this ini­ti­at­ive was to put at the dis­posal of re­search­ers, aca­dem­ics and other tax pro­fes­sion­als of in­ter­na­tional tax law, the very sources of in­ter­na­tional tax­a­tion, which dur­ing all these years had been lan­guish­ing in the archives of in­ter­na­tional or­gan­iz­a­tions. Our col­lect­ive wish is that through this ini­ti­at­ive we have made all these sources ac­cess­ible in a user friendly way.­treat­ieshis­