Scrap FATCA Now, Demand Campaigners

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Campaigners have sent an open letter to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding that the government acts to scrap controversial laws exposing banking secrecy.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) demands foreign financial institution reveal details of offshore cash and investments controlled by Americans to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The Campaign to Repeal FATCA argues that the law is ‘wreaking havoc’ on the global financial system and that after a year of taking office, Mnuchin has done nothing to axe the law as pledged by the Republican Party in the run up to the presidential elections that saw Donald Trump sweep to power.

Nigel Green, CEO of expat financial advice firm deVere Group and former Washington insider Jim Jatras lead the campaign against FATCA.

Letter to Treasury Secretary

They have signed a five-page letter to Mnuchin reminding him of the election promise and demanding he act.

“FATCA is an extraterritorial diktat that burdens other countries’ financial institutions and their clients, which violates other countries’ sovereignty, and which is detrimental to their consumers and taxpayers,” said Green.

“It turns law-abiding, middle-class Americans living overseas, of whom there are approximately eight million, into financial pariahs.”

In the letter, Green and Jatras state: “This Republican pledge to repeal FATCA rests on the deepest and most cherished American principles, not least a decent respect for the privacy of citizens who are not engaged in lawbreaking and are not even suspected of doing so.

 Disappointment over lack of action

“Even the IRS’s own Taxpayer Advocate Service has criticized FATCA’s ‘enforcement-oriented regime with respect to international taxpayers’ with its ‘operative assumption that appears to be that all such taxpayers should be suspected of fraudulent activity, unless proven otherwise’.

“We are confident that legislative progress is being made and that FATCA will be repealed soon. We are writing to you now because of our disappointment that no positive action has yet been taken by the other part of the apparatus of government, in the executive branch. This includes the Treasury.”

The letter comes at a time when Congress is looking at reform proposals from the Trump administration aimed at simplifying the tax system in the United States.

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