Posted on October 25, 2014 by Joe Smith Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 21 Comments Has anyone heard anything new on Alterna being exempt from FATCA reporting? Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:Like Loading...
Their web site has a FATCA page. I think it may have been discussed before? I remember commenting that the page looks like it was written before July 1 2014, but I might be remembering some other FI.
So far I still know of only 3 Canada-wide FATCA-free CUs. These have good online access and high savings interest rates:
Achieva, Implicity and Maxa. I’m still waiting to hear about Accelerate Financial.
On September 24 I received from Alterna Savings the following response to my question to them on their website, as to whether they had Local Client Base registration.
“In response to your email, Alterna Savings is a full-service, member-focused and community-based financial co-operative with over $2.4 billion in assets and we must comply with all applicable laws and regulations under FATCA since July 2014. In order to minimize the impact to our members, Alterna registered as a Local Client Base Financial Institutions, and we are only required to collect information and report on member accounts held by non-Canadian residents that are considered a U.S. person.”
I reported this on the relevant thread over at Sandbox, shortly after receiving the reply ( which email reply was classified PUBLIC in the text, though I am here omitting both my name and the name of the Alterna official who replied). In my query to their web page, I had clearly indicated that I intended to circulate any reply they gave to my question.
That was a month ago. I have no reason to believe that Alterna’s status has changed. They are not clear about this status on their web-site FATCA page, though in my reply to their reply I suggested they ought to make that clear on that webpage. Their webpage contains the first sentence quoted above but not the second one. I suggested to them it might be in Alterna’s financial interest (in terms of attracting more business) as well as in the service of uncertain and nervous current members of the credit union, that they include that sentence on their webpage. But I’m just one member and one shareholder, and last time I checked they hadn’t revised the wording on the website, for whatever reason (or oversight).
Though others have asked me to keep bugging them about this, I’m not doing that. I made the point to them once, and have no interest in repeating it. If others wish to pursue with them the issue of why they aren’t clearer on their website regarding this issue, however, I’m certainly not stopping that pursuit.
On my own behalf and on behalf of those affected persons in Ottawa whom I contacted by private email regarding this, I’m satisfied that Alterna will NOT be reporting account information on any Canadian resident account holder. Given that I know from other correspondence with them that Alterna will not open an account with anyone who is not an Ontario (never mind Canadian) resident, I suspect that Alterna won’t be reporting anything unless a previously-Ontario-resident account holder has moved outside Canada, has retained an Alterna account but provided a US forwarding address or has other US indicia in their records with Alterna. Or perhaps if an account holder suddenly starts receiving from the US or transmitting to US accounts significant sums of money, but that is speculation on my part. I have no idea whether snowbirds who overstay their welcome in Florida would be spotted by Alterna and reported, nor do I even slightly care, since I’ve never been a snowbird, will never want to be, and have no interest in their plights nor any dog in their fights.
As others on the Sandbox thread, I am at a loss to understand why all credit unions in Ontario, perhaps anywhere in Canada, have not registered as Local Client Base Financial Institutions under FATCA. It is my understanding that no Ontario, nor probably other Canadian-based, credit union is legally allowed to open accounts with non-residents. Hence I’d have thought all Ontario, perhaps all Canadian, CUs would qualify, and it would be sensible both for their members and in terms of keeping admin costs down, to register as LCBFIs. Maybe someone would like to pursue this the Credit Union Central. I’m not interested in tilting at that particular windmill, but maybe someone else wants to have a stab at it.
@WhatAmI and anyone else visiting this thread.
There is a very good thread on this subject at Sandbox, which has identified several other credit unions that are registered as Local Client Base, as well as several others which are NOT so registered, or at least their staff who were contacted don’t think they are.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m not interested in needless duplication or overload on this issue, which frankly I’m avoiding as much as I can other than occasionally sending a contribution to ADCS which honestly I think is the only remaining useful response to FATCA right now, other than working to punish the Harperites in the next election and contributing financially to whatever party has the best chance in your riding of defeating the Tory candidate in that riding.
So I respectfully urge everyone who is interested in this specific issue of credit union LCB status, to post questions and answers over at Sandbox rather than diluting attention and information between two different though related websites.
The Sandbox site has no way to subscribe to get notifications of new comments in threads. I asked about this and somebody was going to try to resurrect the feature. It makes it hard to follow things over there.
The Sandbox, being a smaller site, is not that hard to follow. Just make a file folder and place inside it all the URLs of the threads you are particularly interested in. Check these frequently or occasionally as needs be. I’ve got a little color-coding system going for Brock but with the Sandbox I just do a quick daily check of the recent comments since there’s rarely more than half a dozen. Adding extra features to a website can sometimes throw it off kilter and since the Sandbox has been pretty darn steady it’s probably best to leave things as is.
As for credit unions, Servus (the largest one in Alberta and third largest in Canada) has signed up for a GIIN so I guess it has gone full FATCA. This is about all they have on their website — not much.
“So far I still know of only 3 Canada-wide FATCA-free CUs. These have good online access and high savings interest rates: Achieva, Implicity and Maxa”.
I am not so sure about these being “FATCA-free” CUs. I contacted them to ask about their having a local client base and specifically asked if they would be a non reporting Financial Institution treated as Deemed Compliant Foreign Financial Institution under FATCA and thus exempt from FATCA reporting. Below is the response from each:
Achieva: “Achieva is a Registered Deemed Compliant Foreign Financial Institution – Local Client Base.”
Implicity: “We are not exempt from reporting under FATCA, as we report as one entity with our parent organization, Entegra Credit Union. Currently we fall within the “Deemed Compliant” category under FATCA, as 98% of our membership is local. This status will be reviewed annually.”
Maxa: No response!! In looking at their online application form , I found that they ask the following questions, which seem odd if they are a FATCA-free CU:
Are you a U.S. citizen? Primary Applicant: □ No □ Yes Joint Applicant: □ No □ Yes
U.S. citizen is defined as an individual with a birth place in the U.S.
If yes, please provide your Individual Taxation Identification Number (TIN):
Are you a U.S. Resident for U.S. tax purposes? Primary Applicant: □ No □ Yes Joint Applicant: □ No □ Yes
U.S. resident is defined as an individual who has obligations to pay U.S. tax.
If yes, please provide your Individual Taxation Identification Number (TIN):
I also contacted Entegra CU based on Implicity’s response to my inquirry and they responded with:
“Entegra Credit Union currently falls within the “Deemed Compliant” category under FATCA, and this status will be reviewed annually. While falling within this category does allow some exceptions to reporting, it does not exempt us entirely.”
So I’m a bit confused about how to interpret just exactly what the status of these 3 CUs is and what info would be reported for FATCA. Does being “deemed Compliant FI” mean that they would only report on non-residents of Canada? Is this equivalent to having the status of “local client base” in terms of reporting? Why would Maxa ask those questions about U.S. citizenship/U.S. tax resident if they were a non reporting CU? Achieva clearly does not ask such questions on their form; I’m not sure about Implicity as you cannot download the entire form to look at, but in the initial pages of their form I did not find any such questions. Has anyone applied to any of these 3 credit unions since July 1st?
Well, as discussed here and there, it’s hard to trust an answer from random employees or random office locations.
I opened accounts with all 3 CUs prior to July 1. I asked the same carefully-worded explicit question and got these replies on the dates shown:
Achieva: (Jul 4) We are a Registered Deemed Compliant Foreign Financial Institution – Local Client Base.
Implicity: (May 29) Yes our institution currently falls within the “Deemed Compliant” category under FATCA. We have to confirm annually that we remain within our current category, so there is a possibility for change in the future. However we do not anticipate this occurring.
Maxa: (Jun 10) MAXA Financial is considered a Financial Institution with a local client base. We will be complying with the reporting requirements associated with local financial institutions.
Prior to July 1, Maxa did NOT ask those questions. Maybe I asked too soon and the June 10 reply is no longer the case.
The IGA says the exempt must report local clients who move away from Canada or close their accounts. Perhaps that’s what the reporting mentioned above is about?
Maybe we should ALL get together and start our own credit union that is 100% fatca free for Canadians….
Maxa is owned by Westoba Credit Union and they definitely are supposed to report accounts over $50,000. As well, any accounts that are opened, they have a fatca form that asks if you are a U.S. citizen for tax reporting purposes. This form came out July 1. I don’t know if Maxa has the same forms but I assume so, Maxa works out of Westoba’s head office. I currently bank with Westoba and they say my accounts won’t be flagged as American unless I open a new one and sign the form.
But I know that I didn’t use any American ID when opening the account so what they have in their computer system is Canadian.
Thanks for the info on Westoba/Maxa CUs. Is it a totally separate Fatca form that they require you to fill out or just some additional questions about U.S. citizen/U.S. citizen for tax reporting? When I saw the questions tacked onto the end of the Maxa application form it seemed clear that they would be FATCA reporting.
Does anybody know if “deemed compliant”” or “local client base” credit unions, such as Achieva and Implicity, where you apply online to become a member, then send you further form(s) with questions about U.S. status? Has anyone tried opening an account with any online credit unions since July 1st? I know WhatAmI did so BEFORE July 1st. Would really like to know what one should expect if one does try to open an online account with these type of CUs.
My wife is thinking about switching credit unions. We have no idea what Coast Capital is doing on the FATCA front and she feels insulted and judged by the Coast Capital staff person she dealt with and is wanting to switch as a result.
Does ANY BC based Brocker know of a credit union who has been deemed small enough that they can slip through the reporting requirements for FATCA? Can someone e-mail me so that we can take this discussion off-forum?
Could someone PLEASE answer this?
Look for Pat Canadian’s report on BC credit unions here:
PatCanadian on October 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm said:
van city is registered as “local client base”. so no reporting requirement
once i got the assistant general manger of one of there affiliated credit unions that yes there too were registered as local client base they have been great to deal with.
very straight forward application and no weird questions about nationality.
bowen island savings is another very small and local one that i am fairly certain you would be o.k. dealing with
Unfortunately, this is what Van City has up on their website:
If you are a Vancity member, a non-Canadian resident and a U.S. person living outside of the United States, FATCA may affect you.
This is the statement that worries me: What do they mean by non-Canadian resident
If I take this to mean: non-Canadian resident. then it means that Van City intends to comply with FATCA, because my wife would be a non-Canadian – but resident in Canada.
If I take this to mean non-Canadian resident then I should take it to mean that anybody who isn’t domiciled in Canada, but banks with Van City is liable to be reported. How do you all see it. I have to say, I’m paranoid, but in this case…I think paranoid is a GOOD thing.
I currently live in what most people call the “armpit” of the Fraser Valley. 6 letters…starting with S, ends with Y. Take a wild guess where I live.
It’s clear in the IGA that it means “not resident in Canada”.
i think it would mean domicicled but if one of the more astute brockers could chime in
please and thanks
WhatAmI; I’m not talking about the IGA. I’m talking about “what is Van City referring to?” If they want people to feel safe, then they have to be CLEARER about how they’re treating their customers. If they are talking about those NOT RESIDENT in Canada, they should have USED those terms.
I’ve already stated before a long time ago that the banks will throw people under the bus if they have a chance of retaining profits. I also indicated that the USA will do everything possible to retain their citizenship. I’ve also stated that the IRS will treat those who disclose with nothing but contempt. See how that’s turned out. I may be paranoid, but I’m not stupid, nor am I crazy.
There’s a saying that goes: “Just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”
The Animal. I agree they could have been more clear. Having said that, we know that VanCity is safe .
Sorry for the short reply. I sent it from my phone as I was just about to get into the shower. Now the world knows how long it takes me to take a shower…
Others have previously posted Vancity’s announcement that they are deemed FATCA exempt by virtue of having a Local Client Base. LCB is clearly defined in the IGA. It means that there is no limit to the size of the credit union or nationality of it’s members, they just have to be resident in Canada. If a member leaves Canada and is a USC, Vancity has to either report them or close their account.
Read the page you linked to again:
I absolutely agree that their wording is poor. It should say “non-residents of Canada”. Somebody should ask them to fix it.
If Vancity actually intends to report all US persons who are members, even if they live in Canada, then they are not acting as a Local Client Base FI, which they have gone out of their way to apply for under the IGA provisions and state repeatedly on that web page. That makes no sense.
Local Client Base FI is defined in the IGA. Lo and behold, the IGA clearly says:
any Specified U.S. Person who is not a resident of Canada (including a U.S.
Person that was a resident of Canada when the Financial Account was
opened but subsequently ceases to be a resident of Canada)”
The IGA uses the words “not resident in Canada” at least 5 times. It’s good to be paranoid, for sure, but I see nothing to worry about with Vancity. Here is that part of the IGA:
If you are still worried, then ask them and please report back. I called a BC-only credit union early this year but they wouldn’t answer my questions because I was calling from another province.
Thank you for explaining that; WhatAmI. When you put up that wall of text which I diligently read – THANK YOU, I can relax a little bit more. 😀 I swear to God, I’m going paranoid with this. And I frankly am starting to really hate the United States with a passion akin to those that the US and coalition forces are bombing right now. But outside of seething in my cauldron of hatred, all I can do is protect my wife the best way that I can which is encourage her to seek Canadian citizenship, which if it wasn’t for the every-day problems of trying to make ends meet, would be commenced upon…YESTERDAY.