Legal News: US government monitoring its oversea citizens by Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Malaysia to ink pact in line with FATCA

KUALA LUMPUR: All local financial institutions will be required to declare their American customers to the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under a new agreement to catch its tax evaders who hide their money overseas.

Malaysia will be entering into an inter-governmental agreement with the US in line with the implementation of its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca).

Inland Revenue Board (IRB) chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukor Mahfar said Malaysia would fully enforce all the requirements of Fatca by September next year.

“Fatca is a very interesting move by the US to monitor its citizens who have income outside of the country. The rest of the world is required to abide by Fatca or the US government will impose a withholding tax of 30%.

“So, IRB, as the tax authority for Malaysia, along with Bank Negara, will be signing the agreement,” he said at the National Tax Conference 2014 here yesterday.

The tax is imposed by withholding earnings on the funds in the account of the US citizen and paid to its government.

Under the Act, all foreign financial institutions must declare the financial holdings of any US citizen or cough up a 30% withholding tax on their own.

The US imposes income tax on its citizens, regardless of which country they reside in.

Many countries, including Switzerland which was previously considered a haven for those who sought to keep money overseas in secrecy, have signed the agreement.

Other countries listed by the US Treasury website are Britain, Australia and France while Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and China are those which have consented to entering the agreement.

Earlier, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the proposed amendment to Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia Act would be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat sitting in October.

Previously, a controversy had erupted when it was alleged that the amendments would transform the tax agency into a firm that invested taxes collected on behalf of the Government.

The Finance Ministry later denied this, adding that all direct taxes collected by the board would be channelled to the Federal Consolidated Fund.

The provisions commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) became law in March 2010.
  • FATCA targets tax non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts
  • FATCA focuses on reporting:
  • By U.S. taxpayers about certain foreign financial accounts and offshore assets
  • By foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers or foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest
  • The objective ofFATCA is the reporting of foreign financial assets; withholding is the cost of not reporting.
    By: P. Aruna
    Source:The Star / Asian News Network
    Published on: Tuesday, 3 June 2014

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