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Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty Signed | International Tax Lawyers

On January 3, 2018, the “Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with respect to Taxes on Income and for the Prevention of Tax Evasion between the Republic of Cyprus and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” or the Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty was signed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty was signed during the official visit of the President of Cyprus to Saudi Arabia. On behalf of Cyprus, the treaty was signed by Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus. On behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the treaty was signed by Mr. Mohammad Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia.

Cyprus authorities have stated that the Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty is based on the OECD Model Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income and on Capital, and it includes the exchange of financial and other information in accordance with the relevant Article of the Model Convention.

The signing of the Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty comes at a very special time for Saudi Arabia as another eleven princes were arrested. It should be remembered that there were numerous arrests for corruption in November of 2017.

The signing of the Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty will strengthen the treaty networks of both countries. The exchange of information will also help Saudi Arabia to exercise better control the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia to Cyprus.

Moreover, the exchange of information between Saudi Arabia and Cyprus may also inadvertently lead to this information being turned over to the IRS through FATCA (i.e. this information may be disclosed to the IRS by Cyprus or any other FATCA-compliant country that obtains it from Cyprus through another exchange of information arrangement). Hence, there is an increased potential of the IRS discovery of noncompliance with US international tax provisions by Saudi Arabian citizens who are also US tax residents.

It should be noted that the Cyprus-Saudi Arabia Tax Treaty was only signed and it has not yet been ratified by either country.

Sherayzen Law Office will continue to monitor new developments with respect to the Treaty.

UK FATCA Letters

While the United Kingdom signed its FATCA implementation treaty in 2014, UK FATCA letters (i.e. FATCA letters from UK financial institutions) continue to pour into the mailboxes of U.S. taxpayers. In this article, I would like to discuss the purpose and impact of UK FATCA Letters.

UK FATCA Letters

UK FATCA Letters play an integral role in the FATCA Compliance of UK financial institutions. Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the UK foreign institutions are obligated to collect certain information regarding U.S. owners of UK bank and financial accounts and provide this information to the IRS. The collected information must include the name, address and social security number (or, EIN number) of U.S. accountholders.

In order to collect the required information and identify who among their clients is a US person for FATCA purposes, the UK financial institutions send UK FATCA Letters to their clients, asking them to provide the information by the required date. If there is no response within the required period of time (which may be extended), the UK financial institutions report the account to the IRS with the classification as a “recalcitrant account”.

UK FATCA Letters and Undisclosed UK Bank and Financial Accounts

While UK FATCA Letters are important to FATCA compliance of UK financial institutions, they also may have important impact on U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed bank and financial accounts in the United Kingdom, particularly on the ability of such U.S. taxpayers to timely disclose their foreign accounts.

Once a U.S. taxpayer receives UK FATCA Letters, he should be aware that the clock has started on his ability to do any type of voluntary disclosure. This is the case because UK FATCA Letters demand a response within certain limited period of time. Then, the UK financial institutions will report the account to the IRS, which may prompt IRS examination which, in turn, may deprive the taxpayer of the ability to take advantage of any type of a voluntary disclosure option.

Furthermore, UK FATCA Letters start the clock for the taxpayers to do their voluntary disclosure in an indirect way. If the taxpayers do not complete their voluntary disclosure within reasonable period of time (which may differ depending on circumstances) after they receive the letters, the IRS may proceed based on the assumption that prior noncompliance with U.S. tax requirements by the still noncompliant taxpayers was willful.

Finally, UK FATCA Letters may impact a U.S. taxpayer’s legal position with respect to current and future tax compliance, because UK FATCA Letters can be used by the IRS as evidence to prove awareness of U.S. tax requirements on the part of noncompliant U.S. taxpayers. This is particularly relevant for taxpayers who receive these letters right before the tax return and FBAR filing deadlines.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office if You Received UK FATCA Letters

If you received one or more UK FATCA Letters from foreign financial institutions, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Attorney Eugene Sherayzen is one of the world’s leading professionals in the area of offshore voluntary disclosures and he will personally analyze your case and create the appropriate voluntary disclosure strategy. Then, under his close supervision, his legal team will implement this strategy, including the preparation of all required tax forms.

Call Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

FATCA Switzerland: Swiss Senate Approves FATCA

FATCA Switzerland: FATCA Legislation Approved

On September 23, 2013, Swiss Senate voted to approve the implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This event came barely a few weeks after the Swiss House of Representative approved the same legislation.

At this point, Swiss Banks have a clear way to cooperate with the IRS and US Department of Justice in turning over the required information regarding U.S. accountholders in Switzerland.

At the same time, on August 29, 2013, the DOJ announced the creation of the Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks (the “Program”) – a voluntary disclosure program for Swiss Banks.

FATCA Switzerland: What is Driving Swiss Acceptance?

While there may have been strong reasons to oppose the bill, it appears that the driving force behind the acceptance of FATCA by Switzerland has been the fear that Swiss banks would be effectively excluded from the US capital markets if they did not accept FATCA. Most representatives acknowledged that FATCA is a reality, whether Switzerland likes it or not.

FATCA Switzerland: Model 2 Treaty

Unlike most European countries currently engaged in FATCA negotiations, Switzerland opted for the “model two” FATCA implementation treaty. Swiss banks will have to report accounts belonging to US taxpayers with more than $50,000, but client data will only be exchanged once the US authorities have requested administrative assistance (there are exceptions, especially under the Program).

Most European Union countries have accepted another type of FATCA implementation treaty, in which information is exchanged automatically, the so-called “model one”.

FATCA Switzerland: Impact on U.S. Taxpayers With Undeclared Financial Accounts

The FATCA bill will be implemented in Switzerland in stages starting in July 2014. In the meantime, however, the Program will be the main event with respect to FATCA compliance.

The impact on the U.S. taxpayers with undeclared financial accounts is likely to be a dramatic one, though not unexpected. We can already observe a rise in the OVDP (the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program) participation and the expectation is that 2014 will reflect a major participation of US non-compliant taxpayers in the program.

From the IRS perspective, starting the second half of 2014 and especially 2015, we also expect to see a large increase in criminal prosecutions and investigations of U.S. persons with undeclared financial accounts. This is because, through OVDP and the Program, the IRS will accumulate a massive amount of information allowing it to target non-compliant taxpayers with terrifying precision.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office For Help With Undeclared Foreign Accounts

If you are a U.S. taxpayer with undeclared foreign accounts, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible. Our firm consists of a team of highly intelligent and experienced tax professionals dedicated to helping U.S. taxpayers to bring themselves into compliance with U.S. tax law in a reasonable ethical manner. Not only will we be able to advise you on your voluntary disclosure options, but we will also be able to prepare all of the required tax forms and legal documents for you under the protection of the Attorney-Client Privilege.