Imperialistic FATCA is here – and it’s a dark day for U.S. expats and firms operating globally
Today, July 1 2014, is a dark day for the 7 million Americans living overseas and for U.S. firms that operate globally.
Under FATCA, all non-U.S financial institutions are required to report the financial information of American clients who have accounts holding more than $50,000 directly to the IRS.
It is claimed by its proponents that this new tax act is designed to catch tax evaders who illegally shelter money offshore. This is a noble aim. But FATCA cannot possibly tackle this important global issue effectively due to its dragnet, untargeted approach.
Instead what it does – because of its plethora of serious unintended adverse consequences – is to brand Americans who choose to live and/or work overseas as financial pariahs. U.S. expats are now routinely rejected from foreign financial institutions (FFIs), such as banks in their country of residence, because FATCA’s costly and onerous regulations mean Americans are now typically deemed more trouble than they are worth.
Similarly, American businesses working in international markets are now often branded with a leprosy-like status. Clearly, this can only be detrimental to their global competiveness and could, in turn, hit American jobs and the long-term growth of the U.S. economy – which would then, of course, have far-reaching consequences beyond the U.S.
All this to ‘recover’ an estimated $1bn per year, which is enough to run the federal government for less than two hours.
Thankfully, there are ways qualifying U.S. expats can mitigate FATCA’s adverse effects. One such solution is for the U.S. taxpayer with assets abroad of more than $50,000 to create a tax-efficient, supplementary overseas pension contract.
There are other important questions to be asked too about the wholly imperialistic nature of FATCA. Countries and FFIs have been coerced into complying with FATCA’s expensive, burdensome, privacy-infringing, sovereignty-violating regulations by the U.S. – or have to face heavy penalties. In effect, these countries and FFIs are now working as de facto IRS agents.
Nigel Green deVere Group
Blog written 1st July