First Friday FATCA Update

August 5, 2016 by  
Filed under FATCA

Recently, the IRS released the Competent Authority Agreements (CAAs) implementing the Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) between the United States and the following treaty partners:

  • Georgia (Model 1B IGA signed on July 10, 2015);
  • British Virgin Islands (Model 1B IGA signed on June 30, 2014).

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

  • The IRS announced that on January 1, 2017, Treasury will update the IGA list to provide that certain jurisdictions that have not brought their IGA into force will no longer be treated as if they have an IGA in effect (see previous coverage).
  • The United States and Singapore issued a joint statement announcing that they are negotiating a Tax Information Exchange Agreement and Reciprocal Model 1A IGA to replace the nonreciprocal Model 1B IGA currently in effect (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.

Singapore Seeks Reciprocal IGA to replace Nonreciprocal IGA Currently In Effect

August 3, 2016 by  
Filed under FATCA, Tax Treaties

During a state visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore and the United States announced they were negotiating a reciprocal Model 1 IGA.  The countries had previously entered into a nonreciprocal Model 1 IGA in 2014 that went into effect on March 28, 2015.  Unless Congress enacts legislation providing for greater collection of information from U.S. financial institutions, the reciprocal agreement will provide for limited exchange of information regarding Singapore residents who maintain accounts with U.S. financial institutions.  The obligations of Singapore financial institutions would be unchanged.  As part of the effort, the countries are negotiating the terms of a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), and continue to discuss whether an income tax treaty should be negotiated.  According to the statement, the countries hope to complete negotiations on the TIEA and reciprocal IGA by the end of 2017.