Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves 8 Tax Treaties

Senator Rand Paul has been holding up tax treaties for several years but he apparently stepped away from the Foreign Relations Committee yesterday and eight slipped through. They will be considered by the full Senate which I assume will give consent to their ratification, since as far as I know Sen. Paul was the only opponent. From Reuters:
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved eight long-delayed international tax treaties, which had been held up for years because of one Republican senator's objections, despite support from companies that want consistency in rules for how to do international business. 
The treaties are with Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Chile, Spain, Poland and Japan and the international convention on mutual assistance on tax matters. 
U.S. Senator Rand Paul objected to the agreements for privacy reasons, saying they would allow more inter-governmental sharing of financial information on citizens, which U.S. officials deny. Although the Republican is a member of the committee, he was not at the meeting where the pacts were approved by unanimous voice vote. 
It was not yet certain when the treaties would be considered by the 100-member U.S. Senate, where they need a two-thirds vote to be ratified.


  1. My understanding is Senator Paul and Republicans Overseas folks(J Richardson, S Kish, Solomon Yue) continue to oppose these treaties. While it is possible for the entire Senate to override Paul's objection it is a lengthy and time consuming process especially to do so for all the treaties in question.(Paul could force the entire Senate to spend weeks debating these treaties). So my belief is that it is unlikely for these agreement to come into force. Notably the US Senate has already got to this point three times before in the ratification process only to have the treaties die at the end of the Senate session do to Paul's continuous objections(Senate Democrats already voted these agreements out of committee before) In the past Paul has always opposed these treaties on the floor not in committee(for reasons that have never been made clear to me). Paul additionally continues to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the related FATCA IGA's.

    In full disclosure I serve as an unofficial political and legal advisor to some of the people involved(such as John Richardson, S Kish, and Soloman Yue). My advice to them has been to use any and all means necessary to block the ratification of these agreements especially the Swiss, Chilean, and OECD Multilateral agreements all of which have FATCA related implications. Additionally the Japan Treaty removes nationality restriction in some circumstances on assistance in collection for which has obviously little real implication vis a vis Japan US tax relations but has huge implications in future US treaty negotiations with Canada vis a vis Canadian citizen non compliance with US tax laws.

  2. Interesting, thanks for this detail.