WASHINGTON—United States Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)—the top Congressional expert on international tax law – continues to lead the way toward a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty, a major Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) advocacy priority aimed at expanding job-creation and poverty reduction through increased bilateral trade and investment.
ANCA Western Region Chair Nora Hovsepian Esq. and ANCA National Board member Aida Dimejian discussing U.S.-Armenia bilateral trade relations with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).
ANCA leaders from across the United States met recently with Congressman Sherman on Capitol Hill to consult with him about the steps needed to bring about the start of talks toward this bilateral accord, and, more broadly, to share the Armenian American community’s appreciation for his longstanding leadership on U.S.-Armenia economic relations. Rep. Sherman has worked closely with the Department Treasury, the Armenian Government, and other stakeholders on this matter.
“I am encouraged that Congressman Sherman, himself a former tax attorney, has taken the lead with respect to the negotiations needed to conclude a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty,” remarked ANCA Board member Aida Dimejian. “I am also encouraged that our ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian recently met with senior government officials in Yerevan, who are prepared to take the meaningful steps needed to conclude such a mutually-beneficial treaty. Working with relevant officials at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in the U.S. Congress, and in Yerevan, the ANCA looks forward to making significant progress on this matter in the coming year,” Dimejian added.
In an opinion article printed last year, the ANCA made the clear case for why a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty is mutually beneficial: “A new tax treaty would represent a great way to give substance to the rhetoric—from both Washington and Yerevan—about improving U.S.-Armenia bilateral relations. This accord would both reflect and reinforce the progress we saw last year  with the signing of a U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. It would, as well, create the conditions for the future growth of the U.S.-Armenia economic relationship, the continued development of bilateral government-to-government ties, and, of course, the strengthening of the enduring bonds of friendship that have long connected the American and Armenian peoples.”
The current treaty governing double taxation issues between the two countries is the 1973 U.S.-U.S.S.R. Tax Treaty, an outdated 40 year-old accord. The lack of a double tax treaty between the United States and Armenia creates legal uncertainty that deters potential U.S. investors, diverts investment flows and disadvantages American businesses seeking to invest in the Republic of Armenia.
Congressman Sherman represents a significant part of California’s San Fernando Valley—home to a large Armenian American community—and has been a friend of the ANCA since his election to Congress in 1996.
Before joining Congress, Sherman was on staff at one of the nations’ big-four CPA firms. Sherman is a Tax Law Specialist and a CPA. While at the firm, he audited large businesses and governmental entities, provided tax law counsel on multi-million dollar transactions, advised entrepreneurs and small businesses on tax and investment issues, and helped represent the Government of the Philippines under President Aquino in a successful effort to seize assets of deposed President Marcos. Sherman was also an instructor at Harvard Law School’s International Tax Program.
Shortly after being elected to Congress and being named to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Sherman authored an amendment that sought to direct U.S. aid to the then Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh). While the Sherman amendment failed to pass, it set the stage for later legislative action that led to funds being included for Artsakh in the Fiscal Year 1998 State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.