Fatca Compliance 'Will Strengthen Financial Services Industry'


Tribune Business Reporter


FINANCIAL Services Minister Hope Strachan said yesterday that the landscape of the country’s financial services industry would be strengthened as a result of the nation’s compliance with the tax information exchange agreements such as the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), saying that she was fairly satisfied that The Bahamas would be ready when the Act becomes effective in September.

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.

Speaking on the financial services industry’s preparation for the FATCA roll-out, Mrs Strachan told Tribune Business: “It’s fair to say that the process has proceeded fairly satisfactorily in terms of us being able to meet the timelines for FACTA implementation.”

Testing of the ‘portal’ through which Bahamas-based institutions must submit all necessary US client information began last month. All financial institutions were required to register with the portal by July 31, and complete their first filings - for the tax year to end-December 2014 - by Monday, August 17, with FATCA to take effect on September 30.

“For all intents and purposes it would seem that we are on target. We are foreshadowing that we will be ready come September 30,” Mrs Strachan said.

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.

Mrs Strachan said that the Bahamian financial services landscape would ultimately be strengthened through such tax information exchange agreements. “The landscape of the financial services industry is strengthened by the fact that we will continue to meet our obligations as far as our international and global partners are concerned,” she said. “This was a pretty huge undertaking for us and it speaks to our commitment and dedication to the sector that we were able to actually enter into the inter-governmental agreement with the US, recognise that we had to to pass legislation in order for us to be able to properly implement the terms of that agreement. We have recognised our responsibility to create a portal which would facilitate that reporting. I believe at the end of the day we are going to be stronger as a financial services jurisdiction.”

The minister noted that the country’s adoption of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) automatic exchange of information standard was also on the horizon. “We have the obligation for the automatic exchange of information, which we have signed on to for 2018. We have determined that we are going to take a bi-lateral approach. The job of the Ministry of Financial Services is to ensure that when that 2018 deadline reaches we are able to be compliant with that particular date.”


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 10 months ago

Just another reason for foreigners to make sure they have no significant financial assets deposited or lodged with a financial institution domiciled in the Bahamas. Can any non-Bahamian imagine an 'anti-foreigner' Bahamian government like the corrupt Christie-led PLP government having access to information on their financial assets in the Bahamas? You can be rest assured the Izmirlian family is not keeping any significant financial assets with financial institutions domiciled in the Bahamas. The less the Bahamas government knows about a non-Bahamian's assets the better off that non-Bahamian is. Foreigners residing in the Bahamas are much better off keeping their financial assets in a reputable jurisdiction that is much more friendlier to foreigners than the Bahamas is.


Reality_Check 4 years, 10 months ago

I know most foreigners residing in the Bahamas would not be at all comfortable with individuals like Christie, Maynard-Gibson, Fred Mitchell, Brave Davis, Shane Gibson et al knowing anything about their financial assets placed with financial institutions domiciled in the Bahamas. If these lamed-brain politicians feel they have in some way been 'disrespected' by you, they are likely to label you crazy and freeze your deposit accounts , custody accounts and safe deposit boxes at every financial institution in the Bahamas. Just ask Sarkis Izmirlian!


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 10 months ago

Side point: unimpressed with Hope Strachan in this position.

How can a minister of financial services say the ~reduction of banking facilities in the family islands is an opportunity for some Bahamian business..hint, webshops to fill the gap. Then without taking a breath or even winking, says, she DOESN'T know if the webshops are following the law concerning deposits and withdrawals today. What kind of idiotic statement is that? Why would you allow someone to open a bank, who has clearly shown you they have no problem circumventing the law and doing things the way THEY see as convenient? And why don't you know if they're compliant?

April 2015 release from Min. Of Financial services NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Ministry of Financial Services is doing EVERYTHING necessary to ensure the FULL COMPLIANCE of The Bahamas with established international norms and standards, as the Ministry prepares the country to be ready to comply with the United States Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

HOW??? If you can't even verify deposit compliance? Someone who doesn't like too much questions is loving her appointment.


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