Need for DTAAs- The need for Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements

Due to the phenomenal growth in international trade and commerce and increasing interaction among nations, citizens, residents and businesses of one country extend their sphere of activity and business operations to other countries, where income is earned. It is in the interest of all countries to ensure that an undue tax burden is not cast on persons who earn an income, by taxing them twice; once in the country of residence and again, in the country where the income is derived. At the same time, sufficient precautions are also needed to guard against tax evasion and to facilitate tax recoveries.

To avoid hardship to individuals and also with a view to seeing that national economic growth does not suffer, the Central Government, under Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, has entered into double tax avoidance agreements with other countries.

These Tax Treaties serve the following purposes:

  1. Provide protection to tax-payers against double taxation and thus, prevent any discouragement which the double taxation may otherwise create in the free flow of international trade, international investment and international transfer of technology;
  2. Prevent discrimination between the tax-payers in the international field;.
  3. Provide a reasonable element of legal and fiscal certainty within a legal framework;
  4. They also contain provisions for mutual exchange of information and for reducing litigation by providing for mutual assistance procedure.

The Government of India has entered into Double Tax Avoidance Agreement agreements with several countries, including Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, (erstwhile) Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea (South), New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, U.A.E., United Kingdom, United States of America, U.S.S.R. (Russian Federation) Vietnam and Zambia.

DTA Agreement between India and another country

A typical DTA Agreement between India and another country usually covers persons who are residents of India or the other contracting country, which has entered into the agreement with India. A person, who is not resident either of India or of the other contracting country, would not be entitled to benefits under DTA Agreements.

The different models for DTA Agreements

These are essentially the UN (United Nations) and the OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) Models for DTA Agreements. The UN Model for a DTA Agreement takes into consideration the requirements of and the prevailing conditions in the developing countries and safeguards their interests, while the OECD Model is biased in favour of the developed countries. India's DTA Agreements are mostly based on the UN Model. The US has its own model which issued for DTAs with United States.