The Treasury Department (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) announced on July 12, 2013 a general six-month extension to the timeline for initial implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA from January 1, 2014 to July 1, 2014. They also substantially improved coordination of the FATCA registration process with Treasury’s ongoing efforts in negotiating intergovernmental agreements on FATCA.
FATCA (contained in Sections 1471 through 1474 of the Internal Revenue Code) was enacted in 2010 in order to reduce perceived offshore tax evasion by US persons holding assets through offshore accounts that were not subject to US information reporting to the IRS. FATCA generally requires a foreign payee that is a foreign financial institution (an “FFI”) either (1) to enter into an agreement with the IRS relating to such reporting (an “FFI Agreement”, and such an FFI, a “Participating FFI”) or (2) to comply with local laws that implement an intergovernmental agreement (“IGA”). If an FFI does not satisfy these requirements (and is not otherwise exempt), withholdable payments made to such FFI will be subject to withholding under FATCA at a rate of 30%. FATCA information reporting and withholding requirements generally do not apply to FFIs that are treated as deemed-compliant because they present a relatively low risk of being used for tax evasion or that are otherwise exempt or excepted from FATCA withholding.
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