USA - Malta Double Taxation Agreement

Dr. Trudy Marie Attard | 09 Feb 2012

USA  Malta Double Taxation Agreement

The Double Taxation Agreement between the United States of America USA and Malta was approved by the US Senate on 15 July 2010 and officially entered into force on 23 November 2010, when the United States and Malta exchanged instruments of ratification in Malta. The Agreement is modelled on the 2006 United States’ Model Income Tax Treaty.

The previous treaty between the two states, signed in 1980, was  terminated by the USA in 1997 due to concerns that changes to Maltese tax law provided an incentive for treaty shopping. This was addressed by Malta and another treaty was negotiated which included anti-abuse provisions. The new treaty now includes protection against treaty shopping that goes beyond those in the US model. This, in the form of a ‘‘Limitation on Benefits’’ clause designed to avoid treaty-shopping by limiting the indirect use of the treaty’s benefits by third parties were not intended to take advantage of those benefits. An exchange of information clause formulated on the basis of the US Model also facilitates co-operation in this area.

The objective of the new USA-Malta Double Tax Agreement is to promote and facilitate trade and investment between the two states. The primary goal of the Agreement is to prevent the double taxation of income arising in one state to a resident of the other. However it also provides for reduced withholding tax rates on cross-border payments of dividends, interest and royalties, as well as the elimination of withholding taxes on cross-border dividend payments relating to pension funds.

Upon ratification the Finance Ministry held that “the potential created through this treaty is excellent for all industry sectors of Malta. Malta already has a good base of quality and substantial US organisations operating in Malta, providing the evidence required to show potential investors that Malta offers a quality environment to operate.”

Senator Lugar who played an important part in the ratification process further held that as the USA considered how to create jobs and maintain economic growth, "tax treaties lowered effective tax rates for USA companies selling American goods overseas while ensuring that foreign companies paid their fair share of taxes when operating in the USA.

[Full List of Malta Double Taxation Agreements]

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