International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Is the IRS indicating that FATCA isn't going to work?

Dr. Jack Manhire gets a tip of the hat for pointing out the following blog post on Federal Tax Crimes

  •  The IRS might use a summons (presumably John Doe Summons) to obtain offshore credit Irs_logo card information to track and identify U.S. offshore account depositors through correspondent banks.
  • The IRS may reinstitute a broker initiative to issues summons to brokers to identify U.S. beneficial owners of foreign corporations with U.S. brokerage accounts.

What this information indicates to  me?

(1) The IRS is not so certain that FATCA reporting will be effective to catch the non-compliant taxpayers.

(2) The IRS estimates that many Americans with foreign accounts are noncompliant. 

Given that the IRS has forced billions in spending in four years to bring about FATCA compliance, I find it disturbing that it may not think it is working.  Worse is that this tool was always at the IRS disposal, just like the credit card John Doe Summons, and it is a good tool.  So why not ask for funding to use it back in 2009 instead of FATCA? 

It appears that the strategy for bringing non-compliant taxpayers into compliance is hodge podge, without thought to the ramifications of each, as a whole, and without addressing underlying problems, like taxpayer education and easy to file FBAR.  At least Treasury modified the FBAR date to coincide with the 1040 filing date.  But the forms are still uncoordinated with different questions, different filing procedures, different penalties.  Just not good administration techniques.

See Treasury's Taxpayer Advocate discloses FATCA Imposes Unnecessary Burdens, Will Not Improve Compliance

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This law is destroying a lot of potential US person's business opportunities in foreign countries. Many US residents or citizens with business ties in foreign countries rather give up the opportunities than act on them because to comply with FATCA is just too troublesome and creating mountains of paper works for other shareholders. Most people with money oversea are not fat cats or tax evasion. This law is not helping Americans. It is destroying American's opportunities. 2016 president should repeal this law totally to make USA great again.

Posted by: Tim | Oct 24, 2015 6:34:27 AM

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