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Taxation of outer space income resulting from air transport or employment activities: Is the OECD Model Convention an appropriate tool?

The Lisbon International and European Tax Law Seminars - nº1 - Gaëtan Zeyen

Space related activities (resulting for example from space tourism or exploration and exploitation of outer space resources) will likely generate in near future increasing revenue. 

Currently, the issues of the ‘taxability’ or taxation of such revenue in an international context have not been questioned or examined. It is rather assumed that the current version of the OECD Model Convention constitutes a proper legal tool to apprehend and resolve space related tax issues. The OECD Model Convention, however, relies on some fundamental principles, such as the concepts of residence (requiring a physical presence) or state’ sovereignty, which seem prima facie not very well adapted to resolve space related tax issues. 

The purpose of the present contribution is therefore to check and verify this simple assumption, at the light of two specific issues: international transport issues and international employment issues.

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