This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.  
 

FATCA Hurts Law-Abiding Americans Abroad: Heritage

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Heritage Foundation has issued a report to demonstrate how the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is hurting Americans living abroad, and has recommended that it should be reformed.

In particular, Heritage noted that FATCA is burdening Americans living overseas with "enormous financial and legal burdens" through increased compliance costs and denials of service from foreign banks that do not want to have to deal with the law. "More importantly," it said, "Congress should turn its full attention to broader tax reform that would help curtail tax evasion in a more effective way without resorting to onerous and intrusive regulations such as FATCA."

FATCA, enacted by Congress in 2010 and taking effect on July 1, 2014, is intended to ensure that the US obtains information on accounts held at foreign financial institutions (FFIs) by US persons. Failure by an FFI to disclose information on their US clients will result in a requirement to withhold 30 percent tax on payments of US-sourced income.

Heritage pointed out that "FATCA granted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a new level of intrusiveness into the lives of Americans. … Under the legislation, the IRS is granted enhanced regulatory power in determining, based on its judgment, whether Americans with these accounts have wrongfully evaded US taxes."

Prior to FATCA, it said, "the US had many tax information exchange agreements with other countries to help curb the use of foreign accounts to facilitate tax evasion. These agreements require FFIs to provide certain information on customers to the IRS. FATCA goes much further, requiring FFIs – including banks, stock brokers, hedge/pension funds, insurance companies and trusts – to report more detailed information to the IRS about their American customers each year."

"FATCA's costly IRS reporting requirements and its significant legal and financial risks make it unprofitable and arduous for foreign financial companies to serve Americans," Heritage confirmed, and many FFIs have "adopted another strategy for avoiding FATCA: simply denying service to American customers. Some institutions have already closed the pre-existing accounts of their American clients, (and) lack of access to financial services has made it extremely difficult for Americans living and working abroad."

While reducing tax evasion is looked on as a "laudable goal," which FATCA may reduce to a certain extent, Heritage concluded that "whatever reduction it achieves is coming at a significant cost that could far outweigh the potential benefits," and that "Congress should reform FATCA's heavy-handed approach to tax enforcement now to lessen the burden it is imposing on Americans living abroad and to prevent it from becoming an even bigger problem as it goes further into effect – one that runs the very real risk of exposing law-abiding Americans working overseas to greater IRS exploitation and targeting."

Mailing List

Click here to manage your mailing list preferences, or view our privacy statement.


The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees




Latest News

Jersey Regulator Issues AML/CTF Funds Guidance
16/3/2017
Jersey's financial services regulator, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, has issued new anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism guidance for Funds and Fund Operators.

More Tax Hikes For UK Taxpayers In 2017 Budget
9/3/2017
The UK Budget, released on March 9, 2017, featured tax measures to, among other things, hike taxes on self-employed workers, further close avenues for legal avoidance, and defer mandatory digital tax reporting until April 2019.

ACOSS Submits Recommendations For Australian Budget
2/3/2017
The Australian Council of Social Services has urged that the Government abolish ineffective tax concessions, introduce a sugary drinks tax, and scrap its company tax proposals.

MEPs Call For Wider Access To Beneficial Ownership Data
1/3/2017
EU citizens would be able to view information in registers of beneficial ownership without having to demonstrate a "legitimate interest," under proposed amendments the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

New Zealand Tax Changes Enter Into Force
28/2/2017
A Bill including provisions to simplify New Zealand's tax processes, reduce compliance costs for smaller businesses, and tighten foreign trust disclosure rules received Royal Assent on February 21.

Guernsey Introduces Client Asset Handling Rules
22/2/2017
Guernsey's financial services regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, said it intends to introduce rules governing the holding and administration of client assets in 2017.

Australian Accountants Urge Tax Burden Shift
14/2/2017
Australia desperately needs large scale tax reform and should aim to rebalance its tax mix, the Institute of Public Accountants has argued.

IRS Issues Final Regulations On REIT Spin-Offs
24/1/2017
On January 18, the US Internal Revenue Service issued its final regulations regarding the measures included in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act to restrict the tax-free spin-offs involving publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Bermuda, EU To Collaborate On Insurance, Pensions Oversight
17/1/2017
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the Bermuda Monetary Authority have newly signed a memorandum of understanding.

Hong Kong Consults On Beneficial Ownership Plans
13/1/2017
Hong Kong's Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau has launched public consultations on legislative proposals to increase the transparency of corporate beneficial ownership in the city, and to enhance its regulatory regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Hong Kong Reports On Incorporations In 2016
12/1/2017
There was an increase in local company incorporations in Hong Kong in 2016, although incorporations by foreign companies experienced a dip, according to the territory's Companies Registry.

Guernsey Regulator Outlines 2017 Funds Strategy
2/1/2017
Guernsey's financial services regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, has outlined its funds sector strategy for 2017.

Canada Waives Income, Activities Reporting For Labor Org's
21/12/2016
Canada's Revenue Minister has announced that certain reporting requirements on labor organizations and labor trusts will be waived.

South African Tax Bills Approved By Parliament
19/12/2016
South Africa's Ministry of Finance has published the 2016 Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, which has received parliamentary approval and gives effect to the tax changes announced in the Budget in February this year, together with legislation confirming the final details of. the Special Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Switzerland Praised For Combatting Financial Crime
12/12/2016
The Swiss Federal Council has hailed the publication of the Financial Action Task Force's fourth mutual evaluation report on action taken to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, stating that "overall Switzerland's results can be considered to be good."