On 27 April 2012, David Kleist publicly defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Gotheburg’s School of Business, Economics and Law. His thesis analyses different methods and application issues concerning double taxation treaties.
The opponent was Mattias Dahlberg, Professor of Financial Law at Uppsala University. The examining committee included Professors Jan Pedersen and Christina Moell as well as Supreme Court Justice and former professor, Kristina Ståhl.
Challenge and privilege
“It was both a challenge and a privilege to be able to discuss my thesis for several hours with some of Sweden's foremost academics within the field of tax law”, says David, Doctor of Laws and advokat at Vinge Gothenburg who specialises in tax law.
“The opportunity to conduct research on a part-time basis over the last few years has certainly enhanced my knowledge of international tax law and I have also been able to put my practical experience from working at Vinge to very good use when working on the thesis.”
The subject of the thesis
Read David's own brief description of the subject of the thesis:
"Due to the lack of co-ordination and overlap of various states’ taxation systems, taxation often occurs in more than one state in conjunction with international transactions. For instance, salary in respect of work performed in Sweden is subject to Swedish tax at the same time as the employee may be taxed in another state because he is deemed to reside in that state for tax purposes. As another example, a Swedish company that receives interest, dividends or royalties from abroad may be taxed in both Sweden and the state from which the payments emanate, and there are countless other situations where international double taxation arises. Since international double taxation is deemed to restrict international trade and investments, many states enter into so-called double taxation treaties whereby states mutually agree to limit their right to levy taxes. Sweden has entered into a large number of double taxation treaties.
The treaties employ various methods to prevent double taxation. For example, double taxation is eliminated by giving a taxable person the right to deduct tax which he has paid in one state from tax to be paid in another state. The thesis examines these various methods and different application issues associated therewith. The thesis also analyses the economic outcome in certain, given situations using the two main methods recommended by the OECD. Problems relating to the application of the treaties can often mean that double taxation simply continues and, in some cases, an application of the methods can mean that tax is not payable in any state.
Double taxation treaties are transposed into Swedish tax legislation through specific statutes which allow taxpayers to rely on the treaties and for the Tax Agency and Swedish courts to enforce them. A precondition for the application of the treaties is that treaty provisions which restrict Sweden’s right to charge tax take precedence to Swedish tax rules concerning the imposition of taxes. In many cases, the treaty provisions are also supplemented by Swedish legislation. Furthermore, Swedish legislation can affect the interpretation of various terms used in the treaties. An important part of the thesis pertains to an analysis of how the provisions of the treaties relate to other Swedish tax legislation."
More information about the thesis can be found at Iustus Förlag