On August 6, 2019, President Donald Trump signed instruments of ratification of Protocols amending four bilateral tax double taxation treaties ("DTTs") between the United States and each of Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, and Switzerland. The four Protocols were negotiated nearly a decade ago under the Obama administration, but the US Senate only approved ratification in late July of this year. The Protocols enter into force on the date upon which the United States and the relevant Contracting State exchange instruments of ratification. However, in the United States, ratification was not considered complete until the President signed the instrument of ratification, which was drafted after the US Senate voted to ratify the Protocols.
The Protocols will modernize the treaties with Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, and Switzerland in various areas but predominately in the mutual support and coordination of government efforts to address tax evasion. The Protocols also harmonize the treaties with the underlying international network of US DTTs, as well as with the OECD's efforts to coordinate the reform of international taxation. This client alert will provide a high-level summary of the changes brought about by the recently passed Protocols and will highlight key points relevant for interested stakeholders.