First Friday FATCA Update

Recently, the IRS released the Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) entered into between the United States and the following foreign treaty partners, in these respective forms:

  • Vietnam, Model 1B;
  • Panama, Model 1A.

The IRS also released the Competent Authority Agreements (CAAs) implementing the IGAs between the United States and the following treaty partners:

  • Bulgaria (Model 1B IGA signed on December 5, 2014);
  • Curacao (Model 1A IGA signed on December 16, 2014);
  • Cyprus (Model 1A IGA signed on December 12, 2014);
  • France (Model 1A IGA signed on November 14, 2013);
  • Israel (Model 1A IGA signed on June 30, 2014);
  • Philippines (Model 1A IGA signed on July 13, 2015);
  • Saint Lucia (Model 1A IGA signed on November 19, 2015);
  • Slovak Republic (Model 1A IGA signed on July 31, 2015).

Since our last monthly FATCA update, we have also addressed other recent FATCA developments:

  • The U.S. government filed its brief in opposition to a petition for certiorari seeking Supreme Court review of FATCA reporting requirements for foreign account holders (see previous coverage).
  • The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in Crawford v. United States Department of the Treasury, dismissed a challenge to FATCA brought by Senator Rand Paul and several current and former U.S. citizens living abroad on standing grounds (see previous coverage).
  • The IRS released a new Form W-8BEN-E – which is used by foreign entities to report their U.S. tax status and identity to withholding agents – along with updated instructions (see previous coverage).

Under FATCA, IGAs come in two forms: Model 1 or Model 2.  Under a Model 1 IGA, the foreign treaty partner agrees to collect information of U.S. accountholders in foreign financial institutions (FFIs) operating within its jurisdiction and transmit the information to the IRS.  Model 1 IGAs are drafted as either reciprocal (Model 1A) agreements or nonreciprocal (Model 1B) agreements.  By contrast, Model 2 IGAs are issued in only a nonreciprocal format and require FFIs to report information directly to the IRS.

A CAA is a bilateral agreement between the United States and the treaty partner to clarify or interpret treaty provisions.  A CAA implementing an IGA typically establishes and prescribes the rules and procedures necessary to implement certain provisions in the IGA and the Tax Information Exchange Agreement, if applicable.  Specific topics include registration of the treaty partner’s financial institutions, time and manner of exchange of information, remediation and enforcement, confidentiality and data safeguards, and cost allocation.  Generally, a CAA becomes operative on the later of (1) the date the IGA enters into force, or (2) the date the CAA is signed by the competent authorities of the United States and the treaty partner.

The Treasury Department website publishes IGAs, and the IRS publishes their implementing CAAs.