In an age where international tax laws are increasingly scrutinised and revised, the abrogation of the tax treaty between Burkina Faso and France stands out as a hallmark event. The initial treaty, set in place since 1965, facilitated trade and investment flows between the two nations by avoiding double taxation and preventing fiscal evasion. Its termination signifies a turning point that demands a thorough analysis of the ramifications for fiscal policy and international business operations.

As businesses and tax residents face a new regulatory environment, it is crucial to explore the deeper currents that led to this decision and the subsequent effects rippling through the economic and legal domains. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the situation, offering insights for those affected directly and reflecting on the broader scope of international tax law and relations.

Historical Context of the Burkina Faso-France Tax Treaty

The tax treaty between Burkina Faso and France was established in the post-colonial era, aiming to define the tax relations between the two countries clearly. Initially signed on the 11th of August 1965, and implemented on the 15th of February 1967, this treaty represented a traditional approach to avoiding double taxation and was supplemented by an additional agreement in 1971, which came into effect in 1974.

Reasons Behind the Termination

Burkina Faso’s decision to terminate the treaty on the 7th of August 2023 underscores a significant shift in its international tax policy stance. Despite multiple attempts by Burkina Faso to renegotiate the treaty, France’s lack of response led to growing dissatisfaction with the existing terms, prompting Burkina Faso to seek a termination of the treaty to assert its fiscal interests and pursue a more favourable bilateral relationship.

This move is part of a broader pattern of West African countries reevaluating their fiscal ties with France, amid regional tensions and political changes including coups that have resulted in juntas severing relationships with former colonial powers.

The historical context and reasons behind the termination of the Burkina Faso-France tax treaty point towards a reassertion of sovereignty and a reassessment of fiscal policies aligned with current economic and political priorities.

Immediate Effects on Taxpayers

The immediate consequence of the treaty’s termination is that entities and individuals who were previously covered by the treaty’s provisions will have to revert to the tax laws of their respective countries. Specifically, French residents who earn income in Burkina Faso may no longer benefit from the tax reliefs that were previously available under the treaty. This includes potentially higher tax rates and no longer being protected from double taxation, which can significantly impact the cost of doing business and personal finances.

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations

With the treaty no longer in effect, compliance with Burkina Faso’s General Tax Code becomes paramount. Taxpayers, especially those not familiar with the domestic tax laws of Burkina Faso, will need to seek advice from tax professionals to ensure that they meet all the new requirements. It is crucial for affected entities to adapt quickly to avoid potential fines and penalties for non-compliance. Additionally, this may increase the administrative burden on businesses as they adapt their accounting and financial reporting processes to align with Burkina Faso’s tax regulations.

The termination of this treaty, particularly in the context of wider regional tensions between West African countries and France, may also be seen as a political statement reflecting broader geopolitical shifts in the region.

Implications for International Tax Law

The termination of the tax treaty between Burkina Faso and France represents a recalibration of the international tax framework. Such a revocation prompts a re-evaluation of how bilateral tax agreements are structured and underscores the necessity for nations to align international tax laws with their economic interests and policy objectives. It also serves as a reminder of the evolving nature of global taxation and the need for countries to adapt to changes in the economic environment, reinforcing the importance of these treaties in regulating cross-border fiscal matters.

Potential Economic and Investment Outcomes

The cessation of the treaty could have mixed effects on the economic and investment landscapes of both nations. On one hand, it might deter potential French investments in Burkina Faso due to increased tax uncertainty and potentially higher tax burdens. On the other hand, Burkina Faso might attract investments that are less reliant on tax treaty benefits and more on domestic economic conditions. Additionally, the termination might lead to a more equitable tax revenue distribution for Burkina Faso, if it can negotiate more favourable terms in the future.

Strategic Moves Going Forward

Entities affected by the termination will need to employ strategic responses to navigate the new tax landscape. This could involve reassessing investment structures, financing arrangements, and operational strategies to optimise tax positions under Burkina Faso’s General Tax Code. Moreover, this situation could spark discussions for a new or revised tax agreement that better reflects the current economic and political contexts of both nations. The broader implication for global tax policy is the recognition of the need for continued dialogue and negotiation to ensure that tax treaties remain relevant and beneficial to all parties involved.


The termination of the Burkina Faso-France tax treaty is a landmark event with significant implications for international tax law, bilateral relations, and global economic dynamics. It signals a shift towards a more autonomous fiscal policy for Burkina Faso and reflects broader geopolitical changes in the region. For businesses and individuals affected, it necessitates a strategic reassessment of tax planning, compliance, and investment decisions. This development serves as a catalyst for other nations to reevaluate their tax treaties, ensuring they align with contemporary economic realities and policy goals. As the global tax landscape continues to evolve, the need for informed, adaptive strategies and stakeholder engagement becomes increasingly critical in shaping the future of international taxation and economic cooperation.