The first Colombia-US Tax Treaty nears the final stage of negotiations. This announcement was made on September 28, 2016, in Bogota, Colombia, by Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (the details of the meeting were published on the Colombian president’s website).
Despite the fact that United States and Colombia already signed a tax information exchange agreement on March 30, 2001, the two countries still do not have an income tax treaty that would protect its citizens and business from the effect of double-taxation.
There are a lot of expectations that the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty will benefit individuals and business in both countries. “La negociación de un tratado de doble tributación entre Colombia y Estados Unidos está cerca del fin, esperemos avanzar para lograr algo que los empresarios colombianos y los empresarios norteamericanos desean, al igual que muchos colombianos que dividen sus actividades entre los dos países”, said Mr. Cárdenas.
It is also possible that, upon ratification of the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty the Colombians who live in the United States and have businesses in Colombia will finally be able to benefit from the long-term capital gains tax rates that apply to qualified foreign dividends.
Of course, there is a still a long way to go for the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty. Even after the negotiations are successfully concluded and finalized, the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty will need to be signed and ratified by both countries before it enters into force. While it is reasonable to expect a relatively fast ratification in Colombia, the United States is a completely different story. Treaties can languish in the United States Senate for years before they are even considered.
Furthermore, Mr. Cárdenas and Mr. Lew may not have sufficient time to conclude the current negotiations. Before they may be done, a new president may be elected in the United States and he may take a different to negotiating with Colombia. If this happens, the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty may be postponed even further into the future.
Sherayzen Law Office will continue to observe the situation surrounding the first Colombia-US Tax Treaty.