The use of conduit company treaty shopping structures is often regarded as an impermissible erosion of a country’s tax base. For a developing country, such as South Africa, the protection of its tax base is an important policy consideration. Arguably, one way of combatting conduit company treaty shopping structures is by including in a country’s double taxation agreements the beneficial ownership requirement set out in Article 10(2) of the OECD MTC. The study examines how a South African court would interpret this requirement in provisions in South African double taxation agreements in the context of conduit company treaty shopping involving conduit companies receiving dividends. The study firstly considers whether the beneficial ownership requirement can be regarded as an anti-avoidance rule aimed at combatting conduit company treaty shopping falling outside agents and nominee scenarios. It further considers whether the term “beneficial owner” should have a legal or economic meaning. It explores the meanings given to this term by scholars and foreign courts and the OECD in its Commentaries to the OECD MTC. The study also considers the application of the rules of interpretation contained in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties when giving meaning to this term. Lastly, the study considers whether the term should have the meaning assigned to it under the domestic law of a treaty country, or under international tax law. As part of this enquiry, the meanings of the expression “beneficial owner” in South African case law and legislation are explored.