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International governance through soft law: The case of the OECD transfer pricing guidelines


  • Vega, Alberto


Soft law plays an important role in the regulation of international tax matters. This paper focuses on the case of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines and analyses the relationship between this non-binding instrument and the formal sources of law. From the perspective of international law, the OECD Guidelines are mainly connected to double tax treaties, but they may also influence customary norms and the general principles of law. From the point of view of domestic legal systems, references to the OECD Guidelines can be found in the tax legislation of some countries and, especially, in the interpretative circulars of the Tax Administrations. Furthermore, in some states the courts have also taken the OECD Guidelines into account in their judgements, which shows that they are almost treated as hard law. However, this practical relevance of the Guidelines does not seem to be in accordance with the process in which they were made in the OECD, which could be more open to the different stakeholders and more transparent.

Suggested Citation

  • Vega, Alberto, 2012. "International governance through soft law: The case of the OECD transfer pricing guidelines," TranState Working Papers 163, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:163

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Göran Therborn & K.C. Ho, 2009. "Introduction," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 53-62, March.
    2. Dehejia, Vivek H. & Genschel, Philipp, 1998. "Tax competition in the European Union," MPIfG Discussion Paper 98/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    3. Rixen, Thomas, 2008. "Politicization and institutional (non-) change in international taxation
      [Politisierung und institutioneller (Nicht-)Wandel des internationalen Steuerregimes]
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance SP IV 2008-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. Eden, Lorraine & Dacin, M. Tina & Wan, William P., 2001. "Standards across borders: crossborder diffusion of the arm's length standard in North America," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-23, January.
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    soft law; transfer pricing; international taxation; OECD; international governance; recommendations; guidelines;

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