OECD – Updated guidance on tax treaties and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

This note revisits the guidance issued by the OECD Secretariat in April 2020 on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tax treaties. Unprecedented measures imposed or recommended by governments, including travel restrictions and curtailment of business operations (broadly referred to in this guidance as public health measures), have been in effect in most jurisdictions in various forms and stages during most of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this situation is expected to continue in 2021. This guidance is intended to provide more certainty to taxpayers during this exceptional period. This guidance represents the Secretariat’s views on the interpretation of the provisions of tax treaties (i.e. each jurisdiction may adopt its own guidance to provide tax certainty to taxpayers). But it reflects the general approach of jurisdictions and illustrates how some jurisdictions have addressed the impact of COVID-19 on the tax situations of individuals and employers.