FATCA Is Officially Underway

We’ve been talking about it for months and according to the IRS, FATCA is now officially underway. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is live and the IRS is actively exchanging information with several other countries that have signed on. So what does that mean for you and your information if you have funds in a foreign bank account? Is your information now subject to the IRS?

According to the nation’s top tax agency, at this time it is only sharing information in reciprocal exchanges that meet the agency’s strict requirements and security standards. FATCA was first passed in 2010, but most of the law didn’t take effect until this year. Any foreign institution that doesn’t comply stands to be frozen out of the all-important U.S. markets. In other words, compliance really isn’t an option.

The IRS is now offering a searchable financial institution list, as well as a downloadable tool, plus a user guide. All foreign financial institutions that have signed up with FATCA have to disclose names, addresses, account numbers and information and U.S. ID numbers. Taxpayers also need to be aware that reporting their foreign account information with FATCA is not enough. They must still file their FBARs, and a Form 8938 might also be necessary.

Make sure you don’t overlook these forms or you will wind up paying penalties: civil and possibly criminal. Sometimes the civil penalties, or the financial fines, could actually exceed the amount in your foreign account. While FATCA is really just getting started, you better not wait to get in compliance. GROCO can help you prepare for FATCA, as well as with your FBARs and your Form 8938. Click here to contact us or call us at 1-877-CPA-2006.