The goal of Action 15 is to streamline the implementation of the tax treaty-related BEPS measures via the development of a multilateral instrument which enables countries that wish to do so to implement measures developed in the course of the work on BEPS and amend bilateral tax treaties. A mandate for the formation of an ad hoc Group (“the Group”) to develop a multilateral instrument on tax treaty measures to tackle BEPS, was approved by the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs and endorsed by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in February 2015. The Group is open to participation from all interested countries on an equal footing. The Group begun its work in May 2015 with the aim to conclude its work and open the multilateral instrument for signature by 31 December 2016. Participation in the development of the multilateral instrument is voluntary and does not entail any commitments to sign such instrument once it has been finalized.
Impact of Action 15 for the Netherlands
The Netherlands is actively involved in the group that creates the multilateral instrument. According to the Netherlands the multilateral instrument should cover Actions 6 and 7 and possibly also Action 14. Bilateral or multilateral treaties and amendments to treaties, including tax treaties, as a general rule require prior ratification by the Netherlands parliament on a case by case basis. Without ratification, treaty provisions do not have the status of hard law in the Netherlands. It is not yet clear how this will affect the multilateral instrument from a Netherlands perspective.