Senate approves four long-delayed tax treaties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved long-delayed updates of tax treaties with Switzerland, Japan and Luxembourg, a day after ratifying a similar update of a treaty with Spain in a victory for businesses.

Changes to the treaties are intended to prevent companies from facing double taxation if they do business in the United States and abroad, and to make it harder for taxpayers to avoid paying taxes.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate must approve treaties by a two-thirds vote for them to be ratified.

“These treaties will promote trade with our allies, attract foreign investment and combat tax fraud by improving information sharing,” Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.

The agreements were written and signed several years ago, but had not come before the Senate mostly due to resistance from Senator Rand Paul, a Republican who argued the treaties could be privacy risks because they include information-sharing provisions.

Three other tax treaty agreements - with Chile, Hungary and Poland - are still awaiting ratification votes.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Tom Brown