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The criteria for residence for tax purposes vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and "residence" can be different for other, non-tax purposes. For individuals, physical presence in a jurisdiction is the main test. Some jurisdictions also determine residency of an individual by reference to a variety of other factors, such as the ownership of a home or availability of accommodation, family, and financial interests. For companies, some jurisdictions determine the residence of a corporation based on its place of incorporation. Other jurisdictions determine the residence of a corporation by reference to its place of management. Some jurisdictions use both a place-of-incorporation test and a place-of-management test.
Domicile is, in common law jurisdictions, a different legal concept to residence, though the two may lead to the same result.
The criteria for residence in double taxation treaties may be different from those of domestic law. Residency in domestic law allows a country to create a tax claim based on the residence over a person, whereas in a double taxation treaty it has the effect of restricting such tax claim in order to avoid double taxation. Residency or citizenship taxation systems are typically linked with worldwide taxation, as opposed to territorial taxation. Therefore, it is particularly relevant when two countries simultaneously claim a person to be resident within their jurisdiction.
Double taxation treaties generally follow the OECD Model Convention. Other relevant models are the UN Model Convention, in the case of treaties with developing countries and the US Model Convention, in the case of treaties negotiated by the United States.
The OECD Model Convention and the UN Model Convention are identical. They first provide for a definition of "resident of a Contracting State":
1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "resident of a Contracting State" means any person who, under the laws of that State, is liable to tax therein by reason of his domicile, residence, place of management or any other criterion of a similar nature, and also includes that State and any political subdivision or local authority thereof. This term, however, does not include any person who is liable to tax in that State in respect only of income from sources in that State or capital situated therein.
The definition is followed by "tie-breaker" rules for individuals and non-individuals, which result in the person being considered resident in only one of the countries:
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