The governments of Argentina and the United States signed on December 23rd, 2016, a new tax information exchange agreement (“TIEA”). Jack Lew, U.S. Treasury Secretary, stated that the TIEA will allow for important collaboration between the two countries’ tax enforcement efforts. The TIEA provides a legal framework for the reciprocal and automatic exchange of tax information, which will allow Argentina to (i) comply with the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, and (ii) obtain information about Argentinean taxpayers that hold undeclared assets in the United States.
In a recent article in Entrepreneur, Sheppard Mullin partner Jonathan Meyer, a former Senate counsel to Vice President Biden and Deputy General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, points out that Congressional oversight of companies is likely to increase in the next two years, and discusses some of the hottest topics it is likely to focus on. These include healthcare, financial reform and tax avoidance, cybersecurity and product safety, among others. Companies should keep an eye on Capitol Hill, and be ready for what might come their way.
After the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death on November 26, 2016, President Barack Obama sent a message to the Cuban people highlighting his administration’s efforts to improve relations between the United States and Cuba. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him…[T]he Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” Obama said.
With fewer than 100 days left in office, President Obama is not slowing down on his efforts to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. Today, several changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) go into effect. Those changes build on the plan President Obama laid out in December 2014 to increase the means for Americans and Cubans to collaborate in business, education, travel, and humanitarian work. The amendments will strengthen the ties between the two countries, stimulate Cuba’s private sector, create commercial opportunities for both the American and Cuban people, and potentially improve the lives of many Cubans. U.S. companies looking to expand into Cuba should review these changes carefully to identify and develop strategies for growth.
We have included some highlights from the updated regulations below that could significantly impact your business (or may prompt you to create a new one!). For the full CACR amendments, click here. For the full EAR amendments, click here.
On September 30, 2016, the FCC adopted an order designed to liberalize and streamline the foreign ownership review process for broadcast licensees (the “Broadcast Liberalization Order”). Section 310(b) of the Communications Act caps at 25 percent the amount of indirect foreign investment permissible in a U.S. broadcast, common carrier, or aeronautical fixed or en route radio licensee without obtaining FCC approval. Prior to 2013, the long-standing presumption among FCC practitioners was that the FCC simply would not allow indirect foreign ownership of a U.S. broadcast licensee in excess of the 25% benchmark in the Communications Act, even though the Act expressly contemplated such investments so long as they were blessed by the FCC. The Commission issued an Order in 2013 clarifying that the 25% foreign investment mark served only as a trigger requiring the FCC to review applications on a case-by-case basis, not an automatic bar to such investment. Foreign investment in broadcast licensees above 25% required prior express consent, based on an evaluation of public interest and national security considerations. Also in 2013, the FCC streamlined the process for reviewing foreign ownership amounts in excess of 25% for common carrier and aeronautical radio licensees. The recent Broadcast Liberalization Order largely extended these same rules and procedures to broadcast licensees, with certain exceptions and modifications.
The ongoing presidential election in the United States has underscored a move against free trade by both of the main political parties. This article briefly summarizes some of the proven benefits of free trade and juxtaposes these with the stated positions of the Democratic and Republican parties in the pending presidential election. The article also examines, and disposes of, several of the key criticisms of the legal framework underpinning further trade integration. The article ends hopefully—historically, U.S. Presidents have abandoned anti-trade campaign rhetoric once in the Oval Office.
In a news conference today President Obama addressed rules and proposed regulations announced Thursday intended to help the U.S. fight tax evasion and other crimes connected to anonymous offshore companies and accounts. The announcements come after a month of intense review by the administration following the first release of the so-called Panama Papers, millions of documents stolen or leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack, Fonseca. The papers have revealed a who’s who of international politicians, business leaders, sports figures and celebrities involved with financial transactions accomplished through anonymous shell corporations.
With more flights, relaxing regulations, a historic presidential trip to Cuba, and news of hospitality services expanding into Cuba, the pathway into Cuba for hotels and hospitality companies seems smooth. But businesses should look out for the potential hurdles and compliance risks. Don’t fret – we can help you welcome your guests.
Mr. Mauricio Macri was sworn-in as President of Argentina on December 10, 2015. Four business days after taking office, Mr. Alfonso Prat-Gay, the new Minister of Finance, announced the fulfilment of the campaign promise to end the severe restrictions regarding currency exchange, exports and imports that stagnated the country’s economy over the last four years and made a daunting, if not impossible, task for foreign companies to remit proceeds outside of Argentina, and for national companies to make transfers abroad. Continue Reading
On December 4, 2015, the President signed into law HR 22, which requires the IRS to notify the State Department of any U.S. citizen who owes more than $50,000 in federal taxes. The State Department is then directed to revoke the person’s U.S. passport and to deny issuance of any new passport until the debt is paid. Continue Reading