The Caribbean Association of Banks Urges Regional Governments to Sign IGA’s With the USA

St. Lucia, Fri. Dec. 12, 2014: With regards to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA); the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) strongly urges governments in the region, who have not yet completed the process towards a signed Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the USA to do so speedily before 31st December, 2014.

FATCA was enacted by the USA to target non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers using foreign accounts. FATCA requires Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI’s) to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

The impact of FATCA is far reaching and affects any person, US or foreign, who is involved in making or receiving payments that fall within the scope of FATCA. Failure to comply with FATCA could result in a 30% withholding tax levied on withholdable payments. It may also result in the potential loss of correspondent banking relationships for banks, which are critical to facilitate business transactions with the USA.

IGA’s make it easier for partner countries to comply with the provisions of FATCA. Under an IGA, FFI’s in partner jurisdictions will be able to report directly to a local competent authority; who in turn will report to the IRS.

The latest IRS Announcement states that after December 31st, 2014, countries who have not signed an IGA will only be treated as jurisdictions with an “IGA in effect “ provided that they demonstrate “firm resolve” to sign the intended IGA as soon as possible. The US Treasury will review the list of jurisdictions having an agreement in substance (but not yet signed), on a monthly basis, to assess whether any of the jurisdictions should be removed from this list.

Caribbean countries affected by this announcement include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

A complete list of the jurisdictions currently being treated as having an “IGA in effect”, but which were previously required to sign by December 31, 2014, can be found here: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/pages/fatca-archive.aspx.

Financial institutions in the region have spent the last few years making the necessary preparations to ensure that they are ready to comply with FATCA. It is now time for their governments to support this work by moving quickly to complete the process of establishing a signed IGA with the USA.

Caribbean Association of Banks, Inc is a community of banks and other financial institutions in the Caribbean/CARICOM Region, which provides opportunities for discussion on issues impacting the regional banking/financial services community as well as for the sharing of experiences and networking. CAB is an organization dedicated to the advocacy of national and institutional adherence to AML/CFT. It recommends and supports full compliance with the AML/CFT standards in order to protect all financial systems, within the region, from ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks offering ongoing training and education for its members

Contact: Chris Girard, Project Officer
www.facebook.com/cabassoc
www.twitter.com/cabassoc 
www.linkedin.com/company/caribbean-association-of-banks 
Email: mary.popo@cab‐inc.com 
Tel (758) 452‐2877

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