Kye C. Handy

Publication Date



The Revenue Rule, a common law rule from British court systems, prevents foreign countries from bringing claims in the United States to enforce or adjudicate tax claims that did not happen in the United States. The United States Supreme Court in Pasquantino v. United States held that Canada’s right to collect imported liquor taxes was not barred by the Revenue Rule. However, the Second Circuit in European Community v. RJR Nabisco Inc., ruled the European Union and Colombia could not recover lost tax money or enforcement costs from cigarette smuggling under RICO because of the Revenue Rule. The European Community petitioned the Supreme Court. After accepting the Community’s petition, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case back to the Second Circuit to be reheard in light of Pasquantino. The Second Circuit did not change its ruling citing Pasquantino as a criminal case brought by the U.S. government. With no distinction between criminal and civil RICO cases in current jurisdiction, this comment seeks to provide a solution to the split between the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court. This comment argues in favor of limitations being placed on the Revenue Rule so that it can never trump RICO claims in United States courts. In the alternative it argues if limitations cannot be placed upon the Revenue Rule then the only option is abolition. Lastly this comment provides that if limitations and abolition are not the answer, then foreign countries should appeal to the United States government to bring the RICO claims on their behalf.