FATCA and FBAR
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
- The provisions commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) became law in March 2010.
- FATCA targets tax non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts.
- FATCA focuses on reporting:
- By U.S. taxpayers about certain foreign financial accounts and offshore assets
- By foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers or foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
IRS Foreign Financial Institution (FFI) List
The objective of FATCA is the reporting of foreign financial assets; withholding is the cost of not reporting.
The IRS FFI list is a list that contains the names of the financial institutions and other entities (e.g., direct reporting non-financial foreign entities and sponsoring entities) that have completed FATCA registration with the IRS and obtained a global intermediary identification number (GIIN). The FFI list is available online at FFI List Search and Download Tool and is being published to facilitate the implementation of FATCA. Please refer to the FATCA regulations and other FATCA guidance for the rules concerning the need to identify and document account holders and payees, the need to withhold on withholdable payments (including transitional rules), and the need to report information to the IRS (or to a Model 1 jurisdiction) concerning certain accounts and payees, as well as the use of the IRS FFI list by withholding agents and financial institutions. See the IRS FATCA page, Regulations and Other Guidance, at FATCA – Regulations and Other Guidance.
You should consult a tax adviser if you have any questions concerning the FATCA regulations, the IRS FFI list, or when FATCA withholding is required on a payment. Please keep in mind that the FATCA statute and regulations contain detailed withholding requirements. While many entities are required to register with the IRS and obtain a GIIN in order for payments to them to be free of FATCA withholding, many other entities are not required to register with the IRS and obtain a GIIN under FATCA, and instead must meet different requirements, for payments to them to be free of FATCA withholding.
An updated FFI list will be posted by the IRS on July 1, 2014, and thereafter the list will be updated by the IRS each month.