The long-awaited Brazil FATCA IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) was finally signed on September 23, 2014. This is an event of high importance and, in this article, I would like to explore Brazil FATCA IGA in more detail.
FATCA & Model Treaties
FATCA (“Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act”) was signed into law in 2010. This is a grand piece of US legislation that has already made a huge impact on international tax compliance landscape, and US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts are feeling the pressure of this law more than anyone else.
In essence, FATCA directs foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to identify and report to the IRS all of their US customers with the account balances of $50,000 or more. How this reporting is done will depend on the tax treaty that is signed by the relevant foreign country.
There are two Model treaties that IRS created for the foreign countries to sign. Model I treaty that requires FFIs to send the reporting information regarding US-held accounts to their national tax authority which will report this information to the IRS. Model II treaty skips the national authority – it requires FFIs to directly turn over the US-owned account information directly to the IRS.
Brazil FATCA IGA is a reciprocal Model I treaty.
Brazil FATCA IGA
Since Brazil FATCA IGA is a Model I treaty, under the Brazil FATCA IGA, Brazilian FFIs will turn over the information regarding US accountholders to Receita Federal Brasileira (the national tax authority in Brazil). Receita Federal Brasileira will then turn over all of this information to the IRS. A Brazilian FFI that complies Brazil FATCA IGA due diligence and reporting requirements will be eligible to be treated as a registered deemed-compliant FFI for FATCA purposes.
Remember that Brazil FATCA IGA is a reciprocal treaty. This means that the United States will also have to share information with the Receita Federal Brasileira regarding accounts held by Brazilian residents with certain US financial institutions.
Impact of Brazil FATCA IGA on US Taxpayers with Undisclosed Accounts in Brazil
The signing of Brazil FATCA IGA suddenly raised the stakes for US taxpayers with undisclosed bank and financial accounts in Brazil, because there is almost a certainty that these accounts will now be reported to the IRS. This, in turn, means nothing else than full exposure of undisclosed US-held accounts to a potential IRS investigation with potential criminal and willful FBAR penalties as well as additional penalties (including criminal) with respect to US tax returns.
Moreover, the implementation of Brazil FATCA IGA means that this exposure to the IRS investigation is likely to occur very soon, perhaps as soon as December 31, 2014 or (more likely) March 31, 2015. If the IRS learns about the existence of these undisclosed accounts from Receita Federal Brasileira before the US taxpayer with undisclosed Brazilian accounts attempts his voluntary disclosure, it is very likely that this taxpayer will not be able to enter the 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Undisclosed Bank and Financial Accounts in Brazil
If you have undisclosed foreign and financial accounts in Brazil, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal and tax help as soon as possible. Our international tax law office is highly experienced in the matters related to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosures and has helped hundreds of US taxpayers worldwide to bring their tax affairs into full compliance with US tax laws.