1.3 What/Who is a competent authority?
A “competent authority” is a term used in tax conventions to identify the position, person, or body to whom issues can be addressed within the contracting state that is one of the two parties to a tax convention. The competent authority for each country is typically identified in the Definitions article of the tax convention (for example, under Article 3 (General Definitions) of the OECD Model Tax Convention). A typical designation would be “the Minister of Finance or his authorised representative” or “the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate”. As will be described below, the authority is usually delegated within a tax administration to a level that will administer a country’s MAP program.
Assistance by a competent authority is generally provided under the MAP article contained in a tax convention. As well, competent authorities are often referenced in other articles of a convention and in certain situations other articles may apply directly to allow for competent authority assistance on particular questions (for example, under Article 9(2) (Associated Enterprises) or Article 4(2)(d) (Resident) of the OECD Model Tax Convention).