BY NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas is aiming to finalise its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with the US next week, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
Speaking with Tribune Business at the third Caribbean Conference on international financial services, Ryan Pinder said the Ministry of Financial Services should be in a position this month to shortlist
the bidders for its FATCA compliance system.
The Minister of Financial Services said: “We should be in a position to be able to shortlist next month (April).
“We’re also in a position to reach a final language agreement on the IGA. We have transmitted the language to the United States, they have transmitted their comments back. We hope to have a phone call this week and go to Washington early next week to finalise the IGA agreement as well. We’re still on schedule for all of that.”
The Government has chosen a Model I IGA with the US Treasury for FACTA compliance.
FATCA, which was brought into law in March 2010, is a set of rules set out by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) designed specifically to limit tax evasion by US persons living abroad.
Under FATCA, US taxpayers holding financial assets outside the US must report those assets to the IRS or face penalties. FATCA will also require foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS certain information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
“The region has had a difficulty coordinating with respect to FATCA,” Mr Pinder said.
“The Bahamas is very advanced but in the region there is a limited capacity from a technical point of view, and we look to advance that,
“With respect to FATCA, the automatic information exchange regime for tax purposes of the US, the Bahamas has been a regional leader in its implementation and at the table in its formulation,” the Minister added.
“The Bahamas was successful in hosting the first FATCA symposium with the US Treasury and IRS in the hemisphere, and to date the only FATCA symposium with US Government representatives present, where more than 350 persons from 10 different countries from the region attended.
“This was a demonstrable effort in approaching a mammoth initiative with regional strength and opportunity, something that is necessary for us to survive and thrive, work together to advance our growth and survival.”