Royal Bank of Canada: A common sense approach to tax treaty interpretation

In a judgment which represents a victory for common sense, the Court of Appeal has upheld the taxpayer's appeal relating to the interpretation of the UK-Canada double tax treaty.  The Court held that certain receipts fell within the scope of the "business profits" article of the treaty, rather than the "immovable property" article, and were therefore exclusively taxable in Canada.  HMRC contended that the payments were income from immovable property on the basis that they were consideration for the right to work oil deposits in the North Sea.  This was implausible because, as the Court recognised, the taxpayer had never had any right to work the relevant deposits, and instead had a right to receive payments calculated by reference to the value of oil extracted. Read more