A great FATCA backgrounder from John Richardson, published in American Expat Finance yesterday. FATCA articles aimed at the general public often focus on the impact on individuals, but this one primarily covers the macroeconomic impact. It packs a lot in a short article, good for sending to people who want to know more about FATCA (friends) or who should know more about FATCA (policy makers).
American Expat Finance Editor’s introduction below, article itself continues next page. Reprinted with permission of American Expat Finance.
Over the last few weeks and moths, more media attention than usual has been paid to the 2010 Obama law knows as the Foreign Account
Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). And invariably, we have been noticing, journalists from respected media organizations like The Guardian and Financial Times newspapers in London keep referring to it as a “tax evasion law,” no doubt because that was its original purpose.
That may well have been true in 2010, says Toronto-based expat lawyer and expat rights campaigner John Richardson…
But, he argues here, as anyone familiar with FATCA’s massive impact on individuals who don’t live in the U.S. now – and indeed haven’t for decades and possibly never did, and are tax residents of other countries – it has evolved into an all-but- impossible-to-avoid “extra-territorial money-sucking machine.”
It has also made it very difficult for such individuals to engage in normal financial and retirement planning – or even to get, and keep, a local bank account.
And while it may remain a disincentive for Homeland Americans to attempt to hide their wealth (the way some used to) in Swiss banks, FATCA (along with the Common Reporting Standard, as the OECD’s global version of FATCA is called), is now playing a role in enabling the U.S. to act as a tax haven to wealthy individuals in other countries who are seeking to keep their personal wealth from their own tax authorities.
The fact that the U.S. hasn’t signed up to the CRS, arguing that it has no need to – because FATCA gives it all the information it needs to know about its own citizens – helps to make this possible, Richardson points out. Continue reading