Interpretation or Override? Introducing the Hybrid Tax Agreement

3 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2015

Date Written: October 5, 2015


In the effort to overcome foreign law impediments to the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the U.S. Treasury introduced intergovernmental agreements (IGAs). IGAs are hybrid tax agreements: Treaties to most of the world, in the United States they instead constitute an executive interpretation of the underlying tax treaty. This introduces a great deal of interpretive uncertainty where the terms of IGAs and tax treaties conflict. Prompted by recent queries in the EU regarding the legal nature of the IGAs, this article explores a concrete example of the legal principles at stake by examining how the public policy rules for information sharing found in US tax treaties interact with the information exchange provisions found in the IGAs.

Keywords: FATCA, intergovernmental agreements, tax treaties, treaty interpretation, tax administration, international policy coordination

JEL Classification: F42, H11, H20, H77, K33, K34

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, Interpretation or Override? Introducing the Hybrid Tax Agreement (October 5, 2015). Tax Notes International, Vol. 80, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec

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