Honduras – USA Tax Information Exchange Agreement (1990)

Tax Information Exchange Agreement (1990)

The Government of The United States of America and the Government of The Republic of Honduras, desiring to conclude an agreement for the exchange of information with respect to taxes (hereinafter referred to as the “Agreement”), have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1. OBJECT AND SCOPE OF THE AGREEMENT

1. The Contracting States shall assist each other to assure the accurate assessment and collection of taxes, to prevent fiscal fraud and evasion, and to develop improved information sources for tax matters. The Contracting States shall provide assistance through exchange of information authorized pursuant to Article 4 and such related measures as may be agreed upon by the competent authorities pursuant to Article 5.

2. Information shall be exchanged to fulfill the purpose of this Agreement, without regard to whether the person to whom the information relates is, or whether the information is held by, a resident or national of a Contracting State.

ARTICLE 2. TAXES COVERED

1. This Agreement shall apply to the following taxes imposed by, or on behalf of, a Contracting State:

a) in the case of the United States of America,

(i) Federal taxes on income,

(ii) Federal taxes on self-employment income,

(iii) Federal taxes on transfers to avoid income tax,

(iv) Federal estate and gift taxes,

(v) Federal excise taxes; and

b) in the case of The Republic of Honduras,

(i) Tax on income,

(ii) Tax on consumption,

(iii) Tax on estates, legacies, and gifts,

(iv) Tax on property,

(v) Other taxes collected by the Central Government.

2. This Agreement shall apply also to any identical or substantially similar taxes imposed after the date of signature of the Agreement in addition to, or in place of, the existing taxes. The competent authority of each Contracting State shall notify the other of changes in laws which may affect the obligations of that State pursuant to this Agreement.

3. This Agreement shall not apply to the extent that an action or proceeding concerning taxes covered by this Agreement is barred by the applicant State’s statute of limitations.

4. This Agreement shall not apply to taxes imposed by states, municipalities or other political subdivisions or possessions of a Contracting State.

ARTICLE 3. DEFINITIONS

1. In this Agreement, unless otherwise defined:

a) The term “competent authority” means:

(i) in the case of the United States of America, the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate; and

(ii) in the case of The Republic of Honduras, the Secretary of State in the office of the Minister of Finance and Public Credit or his legal alternate.

b) The term “national” means:

(i) in the case of the United States, any Unted States citizen and any legal person, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, association, or other entity deriving its status as such from the laws in force in the United States; and

(ii) in the case of The Republic of Honduras, any individual or legal person or other entity deriving its status as such from the laws in force in The Republic of Honduras.

c) The term “tax” means any tax to which the Agreement applies.

d) The term “information” means any fact or statement, in any form whatever, that may be relevant or material to tax administration and enforcement, including (but not limited to):

(i) testimony of an individual; and

(ii) documents, records or tangible personal property of a person or Contracting State.

e) The term “person” means individuals and legal entities.

f) The terms “applicant State” and “requested State” mean, respectively, the Contracting State applying for or receiving information and the Contracting State providing, or requested to provide, such information.

g) For purposes of determining the geographical area within which jurisdiction to compel production of information may be exercised, the term “United States” means the United States of America, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and any other United States possession or territory.

h) For purposes of determining the geographical area within which jurisdiction to compel production of information may be exercised, the term “The Republic of Honduras” means the territory of Honduras.

i) The term “ordinary costs” means those expenses incurred to obtain information available in any public agency of the Contracting States.

j) The term “extraordinary costs” means those expenses incurred when the information is available from sources other than those referred to above.

2. Any term not defined in this Agreement, unless the context otherwise requires or the competent authorities agree to a common meaning pursuant to the provisions of Article 5, shall have the meaning which it has under the laws of the Contracting State relating to the taxes which are the subject of this Agreement.

ARTICLE 4. EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

1. The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall exchange information to administer and enforce their domestic laws concerning taxes covered by this Agreement, including information to effect the determination, assessment, and collection of tax, the recovery and enforcement of tax claims, or the investigation or prosecution of tax crimes or crimes involving the contravention of tax administration. A Contracting State shall exchange information with respect to a person without regard to whether such person is a resident or a national of a Contracting State.

2. The competent authority of one Contracting State shall spontaneously transmit to the competent authority of the other State information which has come to the attention of the first-mentioned State and which is likely to be relevant to, and bear significantly on, accomplishment of the purposes referred to in paragraph 1. The competent authorities shall determine the information to be exchanged pursuant to this paragraph and take such measures and implement such procedures as are necessary to ensure that the information is forwarded to the competent authority of the other State.

3. The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall automatically transmit information to each other for the purposes referred to in paragraph 1. The competent authorities shall determine the items of information to be exchanged pursuant to this paragraph and the procedures to be used to exchange such items.

4. The competent authority of the requested State shall provide information upon request by the competent authority of the applicant State for the purposes referred to in paragraph 1. If the information available in the tax files of the requested State is not sufficient to enable compliance with the request, that State shall take all relevant measures, including compulsory measures, to provide the applicant State with the information requested.

a) The requested State shall undertake any of the following actions:

(i) examine any books, papers, records, or other tangible property which may be relevant or material to such inquiry;

(ii) question any person having knowledge or in possession, custody or control of information which may be relevant or material to such inquiry;

(iii) compel any person having knowledge or in possession, custody or control of information which may be relevant or material to such inquiry to appear at a stated time and place and testify under oath and produce books, papers, records, or other tangible property;

(iv) take such testimony of any individual under oath.

b) Also, the requested State shall undertake actions to obtain information:

(i) from banks, nominees or persons acting in an agency or fiduciary capacity; and

(ii) respecting the participation of one or more individuals in a legal entity; this shall not impede or otherwise affect the authority of the requested State described in subparagraph a). The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall have authority to obtain and provide information notwithstanding such disclosure laws and practices.

c) Privileges under the laws or practices of the applicant State shall not apply in the execution of a request but shall be preserved for resolution by the applicant State.

5. If information is requested by a Contracting State pursuant to paragraph 4, the requested State shall obtain the information requested in the same manner, and provide it in the same form, as if the tax of the applicant State were the tax of the requested State and were being imposed by the requested State. However, if specifically requested by the competent authority of the applicant State the requested State shall:

a) specify the time and place for the taking of testimony or the production of books, papers, records, and other tangible property;

b) place under oath the individual giving testimony or producing books, papers, records and other tangible property;

c) permit the presence of persons designated by the competent authority of the applicant State as being involved in or affected by execution of the request, including an accused, an attorney or legal representative, and individuals charged with the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the applicant State covered by this Agreement;

d) provide individuals permitted to be present with an opportunity to question, through the executing authority, the individual giving testimony or producing books, papers, records and other tangible property;

e) secure original and unedited books, papers, and records, and other tangible property;

f) secure or produce true and correct copies of original and unedited books, papers and records;

g) determine the authenticity of books, papers, records and other tangible property produced;

h) examine the individual producing books, papers, records and other tangible property regarding the purpose for which and the manner in which the item produced is or was maintained;

i) permit the competent authority of the applicant State to provide written questions to which the individual producing books, papers, records and other tangible property is to respond regarding the item produced;

j) perform any other act not in violation of the laws or at variance with the administrative practice of the requested State;

k) certify either that the procedures requested by the competent authority of the applicant State were followed or that the procedures requested could not be followed, with an explanation of the deviation and the reason therefor.

6. The provisions of the preceding paragraphs shall not be construed so as to impose on a Contracting State the obligation:

a) to carry out administrative measures at variance with the laws and administrative practice of that State or of the other Contracting State;

b) to supply particular items of information which are not obtainable under the laws or in the normal course of the administration of that State or of the other Contracting State;

c) to supply information which would disclose any trade, business, industrial, commercial or professional secret or trade process;

d) to supply information, the disclosure of which would be contrary to public policy (ordre public);

e) to supply information requested for political or ideological motives;

f) to supply information requested by the applicant State to administer or enforce a provision of the tax law of the applicant State, or any requirement connected therewith, which discriminates against a national of the requested State. A provision of tax law, or connected requirement, will be considered to be discriminatory against a national of the requested State if it is different or more burdensome with respect to a national of the requested State than with respect to a national of the applicant State in the same circumstances. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a national of the applicant State who is subject to tax on worldwide income is not in the same circumstances as a national of the requested State who is not subject to tax on worldwide income. The provisions of this subparagraph shall not be construed to prevent the exchange of information with respect to the taxes imposed by the United States or The Republic of Honduras on branch profits or the excess interest of a branch or on the premium income of foreign insurers.

7. Except as provided in paragraph 6, the provisions of the preceding paragraphs shall be construed so as to impose on a Contracting State the obligation to use all legal means and its best efforts to execute a request. A Contracting State may, in its discretion, take measures to obtain and transmit to the other State information which, pursuant to paragraph 6, it has no obligation to transmit.

8. The competent authority of the requested State shall allow representatives of the applicant State to enter the requested State to interview individuals and examine books and records with the consent of the individuals contacted.

9. Any information received by a Contracting State shall be treated as secret in the same manner as information obtained under the domestic laws of that State and shall be disclosed only to individuals or authorities (including judicial and administrative bodies) involved in the determination, assessment, collection, and administration of the taxes covered by this Agreement, the recovery of claims derived from such taxes, or in the enforcement or prosecution in respect of, or the determination of appeals in respect of, the taxes which are the subject of this Agreement, or the oversight of the above. Such individuals or authorities shall use the information only for such purposes. These individuals or authorities may disclose the information in public court proceedings or in judicial decisions.

ARTICLE 5. MUTUAL AGREEMENT PROCEDURE

1. The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall agree to implement a program to carry out the purposes of this Agreement. This program may include, in addition to exchanges specified in Article 4, other measures to improve tax compliance, such as exchanges of technical know-how, development of new audit techniques, training and instruction of personnel, identification of new areas of non-compliance, and joint studies of non-compliance areas.

2. The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall endeavor to resolve by mutual agreement any difficulties or doubts arising as to the interpretation or application of this Agreement. In particular, the competent authorities may agree to a common meaning of a term and may determine when costs are extraordinary for purposes of Article 6.

3. The competent authorities of the Contracting States may communicate with each other directly for the purposes of reaching an agreement under this Article.

FINAL PROVISIONS

ARTICLE 6. COSTS

Unless the competent authorities of the Contracting States otherwise agree, ordinary costs incurred in providing assistance shall be borne by the requested State and extraordinary costs incurred in providing assistance shall be borne by the applicant State.

ARTICLE 7. IMPLEMENTATION

Each Contracting State shall enact such legislation as may be necessary to effectuate this Agreement.

ARTICLE 8. ENTRY INTO FORCE

This Agreement shall enter into force upon an exchange of notes by the duly authorized representatives of the Contracting States confirming their mutual agreement that both sides have met all constitutional and statutory requirements necessary to effectuate this Agreement.

ARTICLE 9. AMENDMENT AND TERMINATION

1. This Agreement may be modified or amended with the agreement of the Contracting States.

2. This Agreement shall remain in force until terminated by one of the Contracting States. Either Contracting State may terminate the Agreement at any time after the Agreement enters into force provided that at least 6 months prior notice of termination has been given through diplomatic channnels.

DONE at Washington, D. C. in duplicate in the English and Spanish languages, the two texts having equal authenticity, this 27th day of September, 1990.

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HONDURAS: