The long-anticipated Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) United
States - Canada Intergovernmental agreement (IGA) was released on
February 5, 2014.
And as Dan Lundenberg, National Leader, US Tax Services, Grant Thornton
LLP notes "this is great for Canadian financial institutions, as they
now have the final guidance on how FATCA will apply to them. However,
those expecting a blanket exemption for Canadian institutions will be
disappointed. FATCA will apply to Canadian financial institutions in a
similar way to UK financial institutions. The big mystery is why this
agreement took so long to finalize." FATCA is a 2010 US law aimed at
foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and other financial intermediaries
to prevent tax evasion by US citizens and residents through the use of
offshore accounts. When put into effect starting on July 1, 2014, FATCA
will require many FFIs to catalogue their US account holders and report
information about their accounts annually. Canadian FIs will do so
through new reporting to the CRA.
FATCA IGA highlights for Canadian financial institutions
Canadian financial institutions (FIs) that are not exempt from FATCA
will not be required to enter into an agreement with the Internal
Revenue Service (IRS). However, non-exempt Canadian FIs are still
required to register on the IRS FATCA portal and receive a Global
Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN).
"And just as we anticipated, the IGA has provided an exemption from
FATCA reporting for certain accounts," Lundenberg continues. These
In addition, the following Canadian FIs wll be considered non-reporting
Canadian financial institutions that will be treated as deemed-compliant
One of the most important pieces of the IGA is the phased-in reporting
of the required information on each US account holder.
Next steps for Canadian FIsLundenberg indicates that there are now
a number of steps that Canadian FIs need to take in order to be
compliant with FATCA. These include:
1 FATCA classification: determining classification under FATCA to
determine whether registration is required.
2 IRS registration: for those not exempt, register no later than April
25, 2014 on the IRS online portal and obtain a GIIN. This deadline is
critical as the IRS will publish its first list of registered FFIs by
June 2, 2014 (and will update this list on a monthly basis thereafter).
3 Those who do not register with the IRS by April 25, 2014 will be
subject to the 30% FATCA withholding tax. This withholding will start on
US source income-such as dividends, interest-paid starting July 1, 2014.
US withholding agents will confirm a Canadian FI's status as being
onside with FATCA by reviewing the IRS published list.
4 New client on-boarding procedures must be in put in place for all new
accounts opened on or after July 1, 2014. Canadian FIs will need to
change their new account procedures to determine the US status of new
clients. Canadian FIs can adopt the self-certification/documentary
evidence approach in verifying whether the account holder is US citizen
or US resident for tax purposes.
Later stepsAs the FATCA implementation is phased in over the next
few years, Canadian FIs will need to consider how to report the
information on their US account holders, required by the CRA. This
reporting will commence in 2015. Canadian FIs will also need to begin a
due diligence process on their pre-existing accounts (accounts
maintained by the FI as of June 30, 2014) to determine which of their
current clients are US persons.
Lundenberg states that although the IGA's outlined steps are pretty
straightforward, time is definitely the biggest constraint. Canadian FIs
with reporting obligations must consider how FATCA's requirements impact
their internal systems and should note that they may require
sophisticated IT systems or will have to configure their current IT
systems to allow for the required information gathering and reporting.
Notes to editorsDan Lundenberg, National Leader, US Corporate Tax
Services, Grant Thornton LLP, is available for interviews.
About Grant Thornton LLP in CanadaGrant Thornton LLP is a leading
Canadian accounting and advisory firm providing audit, tax and advisory
services to private and public organizations. We help dynamic
organizations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful,
actionable advice through a broad range of services. Together with the
Quebec firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton LLP, Grant Thornton in Canada
has approximately 4,000 people in offices across Canada. Grant Thornton
LLP is a Canadian member of Grant Thornton International Ltd, whose
member firms operate in close to 100 countries worldwide.
Follow us on Twitter: @GrantThorntonCA
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