On June 25, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved protocols to four income tax treaties, clearing the way for the treaties to be considered by the full Senate. Senate approval is the final step needed in order for instruments of ratification to be exchanged with the treaty partner jurisdiction. The protocols relate to income tax treaties with Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, and Switzerland.

Senator Rand Paul (R-K.Y.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has held up consideration of the protocols because of his opposition to exchange of information provisions without what proper safeguards in place to protect U.S. businesses and citizens abroad.

Apparently, the protocols will require a formal vote by the full Senate rather than a streamlined process of unanimous consent by voice vote. In any case, this is a significant step, as no tax treaty or protocol has been approved by the Senate since 2010.

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