Saturday, February 28th1.0°C
25355
24576

77,000 foreign banks agree to share account information with IRS in tax evasion crackdown

WASHINGTON - It will soon get a lot harder to use overseas accounts to hide income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

More than 77,000 foreign banks, investment funds and other financial institutions have agreed to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS as part of a crackdown on offshore tax evasion, the Treasury Department announced Monday.

The list includes 515 Russian financial institutions. Russian banks had to apply directly to the IRS because the U.S. broke off negotiations with the Russian government over an information-sharing agreement because of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Nearly 70 countries have agreed to share information from their banks as part of a U.S. law that targets Americans hiding assets overseas. Participating countries include the world's financial giants, as well as many places where Americans have traditionally hid assets, including Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

Starting in March 2015, these financial institutions have agreed to supply the IRS with names, account numbers and balances for accounts controlled by U.S. taxpayers.

Under the law, foreign banks that don't agree to share information with the IRS face steep penalties when doing business in the U.S. The law requires American banks to withhold 30 per cent of certain payments to foreign banks that don't participate in the program — a significant price for access to the world's largest economy.

The 2010 law is known as FATCA, which stands for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. It was designed to encourage — some say force — foreign financial institutions to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS, making it more difficult for Americans to use overseas accounts to evade U.S. taxes.

"The strong international support for FATCA is clear, and this success will help us in our goal of stopping tax evasion and narrowing the tax gap," said Robert Stack, deputy assistant treasury secretary for international tax affairs.

Under the law, U.S. banks that fail to withhold the tax would be liable for it themselves, a powerful incentive to comply. U.S. banks are scheduled to start withholding 30 per cent of interest and dividend payments in July, though recent guidance from the Treasury Department gives U.S. banks some leeway on timing as they gear up their systems.

The withholding applies to stocks and bonds, including U.S. Treasurys. Some previously owned securities would be exempt from the withholding, but in general, previously owned stocks would not.

Private investors who use foreign financial institutions to facilitate trades also face the withholding penalty. Those private investors could later apply to the IRS for refunds, but the inconvenience would be enormous.

Treasury released the list of complying banks on Monday so American financial institutions will know it is OK to send them payments without withholding the tax. Treasury is expected to update the list next month, after another push to complete information-sharing agreements.

"I think having 77,000 on this first list is a pretty big success," said Denise Hintzke of Deloitte Tax LLP. "It appears to me that people are taking it pretty seriously and intend to comply."

Banks in many countries are prevented by local privacy laws from sharing account information with foreign governments. To get around these restrictions, the Treasury Department has been negotiating agreements in which foreign governments will collect the information from their banks and then share it with U.S. authorities.

Russia was negotiating one of these agreements when the U.S. broke off talks in March. Nevertheless, 515 Russian financial institutions applied to the IRS directly and have been accepted into the program. More could apply in the coming weeks.

___

Online:

IRS list of complying foreign financial institutions: http://apps.irs.gov/app/fatcaFfiList/flu.jsf

Countries with information-sharing agreements: http://tinyurl.com/q6vg7nj

___

Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23015


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15234.34-6.82
S&P CDNX706.73+5.80
DJIA18132.70-81.72
Nasdaq4963.528-24.362
S&P 5002104.50-6.24
CDN Dollar0.7996+0.0004
Gold1203.00+6.10
Oil52.14+1.53
Lumber297.20+1.20
Natural Gas2.895-0.007

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.12+0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.55-0.03
Cantex0.035-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.190.00
Metalex Ventures0.035-0.005
Russel Metals25.38+0.08
Copper Mountain Mining1.30+0.04
Colorado Resources0.15+0.015
ReliaBrand Inc0.008-0.0007
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.015
Mission Ready Services0.235+0.025

 



25048

FEATURED Property
17877381910 Hidden Lake Place, Kelowna
4 bedrooms 4 baths
$1,195,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Creating your retirement vision

A vision means different things to different people. To the head of a large corporation, it’s the ability to chart a course that will deliver success (think Steve Jobs and Apple), to a shaman, i...


It's OK to say 'I'm sorry'

Photo: ContributedStand-up comedians and sitcoms have been making fun of Canadians for being polite as long as I can remember. Being known for our niceness is certainly not a bad thing and I wish more...


Are you asking the right questions?

Have you ever had this happen to you? You are in the middle of your second or third good discussion with a prospect and everything seems to be going great. The prospect seems engaged and happy to work...

_








Member of BC Press Council


24850