On June 25, 2019, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved four tax treaty protocols. The protocols are now subject to a Senate floor vote and, if ratified, would amend the United States' bilateral tax treaties with Japan, Spain, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. The Senate has not ratified a tax treaty since 2010, largely due to privacy objections stemming from the federal government's authority to request taxpayer information that is deemed relevant for treaty application.
These protocols were previously approved by the Committee in 2015 but failed to make it to a Senate floor vote at that time. Recent reports indicate that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) may schedule floor time for the Senate to consider the protocols this summer. However, the Senate has several pressing legislative items to tackle before it adjourns for the August recess and it is not clear whether the tax treaty amendments will be prioritized.
Movement could also be on the horizon for long-awaited treaty protocols with Chile, Hungary, and Poland, which are currently pending review by the Committee.
How Can Venable Help
In the wake of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Senate appears to be turning its attention toward United States bilateral tax treaty amendments. Venable's international tax team can help clients understand the implications of these potential changes and how best to knowledgeably structure their international operations accordingly.