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Saturday, November 18 2017 @ 11:14 PM AST

Jamaica Observer: FATCA hurting Caribbean, revoke it, Mr Trump

On the same day the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) called on the Parliamentary Opposition to support it, one of Jamaica's leading daily newspapers spoke out in its editorial against it.

The Observer in its editorial today said:

The United States Government passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010 and has been implementing it vigorously.

FATCA requires US persons, including those living abroad, to file yearly reports on their non-US financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. It also requires all foreign financial institutions to provide information on assets and transactions of US persons to the US Department of the Treasury.

The definition of US persons includes foreigners holding upwards of US$50,000 in accounts with financial institutions.

The motivation for FATCA is two-fold: First, improved tax compliance and tax revenue collection, and second, to cut off or reduce funds getting to terrorist organisations. Nothing is wrong with either motive.

But the US is inadvertently causing serious damage to the small, developing economies of the Caribbean, who are its strong allies, because of the highly open nature of their economies and their dependence on international financial intermediation by foreign commercial banks.

Many in the region, however, believe that the US action was also related to the fact that it has listed 15 Caribbean countries as tax havens. FATCA adversely affects all international financing provided by correspondent banks. Adverse impacts include choking international investment flows, trade financing, transfers of remittances, debt servicing, transfers of profits and royalties.

Some US banks have either withdrawn or restricted some of these services to 16 banks in the Caribbean in spite of FATCA compliance by Caribbean jurisdictions. There have been meetings between the US Treasury and Caribbean ministers, but the region feels that there is insufficient empathy.

Jamaicas Finance Minister Audley Shaw made a strong statement when Caribbean finance ministers met with the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund late last year. Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda hosted a special conference shortly thereafter.

Recently, the leader of the Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar did something almost unheard of by writing to then President-elect Donald Trump to remind him that in his presidential campaign he indicated that he would abolish FATCA. The Wall Street Journal took up the issue in an editorial.

Latest development is that a seminar is scheduled for tomorrow at the SUNY-UWI Centre for Governance and Sustainable Development in New York to mobilise support for a change in US policy. The strong Caribbean team includes Sir Kenneth Hall; former prime minister of Barbados Owen Arthur; Ambassador Dr Richard Bernal, pro-vice chancellor of global affairs at UWI; former president of the Caribbean Development Bank Professor Compton Bourne; and Dr Damien King of the UWI Economics Department.

Combating money laundering and terrorist financing is a goal shared by this newspaper and Caribbean governments. Suitable arrangements have to be put in place to ensure that this can be attained while allowing normality in international financing. Hopefully, the SUNY-UWI seminar will help influence the US to repeal FATCA.

We wish the team well in their mission.

See for yourself at


BATT makes final plea for passage of FATCA Bill

The Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) is making a final appeal to the Opposition to support the passage of the Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) Bill when it comes up for debate in Parliament on February 13th, 2017. BATT has spent the past 5 years working with both the former Government and the present Government on the implementation of the FATCA regime. The issues surrounding the TIEA bill have been reviewed extensively by the recently concluded Joint Select Committee (JSC), which the Opposition requested. Having ventilated all the issues, the time for debate has now come to an end. The TIEA bill must be implemented to allow the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) time to begin the implementation process for the FATCA reporting requirements which are due by September 2017.

The consequences of non-compliance with our international obligations have been reported on extensively and we cannot run the risk of damage to the reputation of our Country. As BATT has indicated the FATCA reporting requirements will impact US persons only who already have an obligation to report their tax obligations to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This requirement is therefore not new and does not impose any new requirement on US person. No other information other than what is explicitly stated in the FATCA requirements will be reported by Banks to the BIR.

BATT urges the Opposition to do what is in the best interest of the Country and work together with the Government to pass the TIEA bill.

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