International Financial Law Prof Blog

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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

FATCA - Do taxpayers need a right to know foreign government will receive their private financial information from IRS?

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENTS (IGAS): Amend Internal Revenue Code § 1474 to Allow a Period of Notice and Comment on New Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) and to Require That the IRS Notify Taxpayers Before Their Data Is Transferred to a Foreign Jurisdiction Pursuant to These IGAs, Unless Unique and Compelling Circumstances Exist


Taxpayer is a citizen of the U.S. but is currently a resident of a foreign country. The U.S. and the foreign country enter into an IGA, which contemplates the reciprocal sharing of  axpayert information. Once the IGA is in force and the U.S. has done as much as it can to confirm that the cybersecurity measures of the foreign country are satisfactory, the reciprocal exchange of information begins. As part of that exchange, Taxpayer’s personal information is provided to the foreign country without Taxpayer’s specific knowledge. Once the information arrives in the foreign country and is beyond the continuing oversight of the IRS, a data breach occurs. As a result, Taxpayer’s personal information is exposed and taxpayer becomes the victim of identity theft.

Unlike in the U.S., the foreign country does not follow the practice of alerting taxpayers when data breaches occur. Thus, the identity theft results in substantial economic damage to Taxpayer in part because Taxpayer remains unaware of the data breach until unauthorized account activity begins to appear. Moreover, Taxpayer’s risk for subsequent damage has effectively been doubled by the circumstance that Taxpayer’s personal information now is maintained in two different jurisdictions, thereby increasing exposure to unauthorized disclosure or improper use of that information.

Read the proposal at Download ARC18_Volume1_LR_06_IGAS

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