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Income Tax Treaties v. Domestic Law: An International Look at the Current Score

Volume 3 No 6    /    Read Article

By Galia Antebi, Neha Rastogi, and Elizabeth V. Zanet

Ask most tax advisers outside the U.S. about the way to resolve a conflict between the provisions of an income tax treaty and domestic law, and the almost universal view is to look to the treaty for resolution. However, in some countries, an income tax treaty is not the last word in resolving conflicts. In the U.S., the saving clause of a treaty preserves the supremacy of U.S. domestic tax rules as they affect U.S. citizens and residents, as defined in the treaty. In Brazil, a presidential decree may govern the outcome. And in India, a domestic tax provision may be crafted in such a way as to circumvent a treaty by altering the identity of the technical taxpayer. Elizabeth V. Zanet, Galia Antebi, and Neha Rastogi examine ways in which those three countries directly or indirectly override treaty provisions that are deemed domestically undesirable.    See more →