On November 18, 2019, the Ukrainian FATCA IGA entered into force. Sherayzen Law Office already wrote on this subject a little more than three years ago. This essay updates the status of the Ukrainian FATCA IGA.
Ukrainian FATCA IGA: Background Information
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted into law in 2010 and quickly caused a revolution in the area of international tax information exchange. While FATCA is very complex, its basic purpose is clear – improving US international tax compliance through new information reporting standards. The revolutionary aspect of FATCA was to force foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) to comply these new information reporting standards through what essentially amounted to FATCA tax withholding penalties. In other words, FATCA turned FFIs throughout the world into IRS informants.
Using brutal economic force on the FFIs, however, may be considered by many foreign countries as a violation of their sovereignty, because FFIs are not US taxpayers. In order to enforce FATCA effectively, the United States has worked to enlist the cooperation of the FFIs’ home countries. The ultimate products of these negotiations have been FATCA implementation treaties, officially called FATCA IGAs (Intergovernmental Agreements). The Ukrainian FATCA IGA is just one example of such a treaty.
Ukrainian FATCA IGA: History and Current Status
On November 9, 2016, the Ukrainian government authorized the Ukrainian FATCA IGA for signature. On February 7, 2017, the IGA was signed. Since November 18, 2019, it has been in force.
Ukrainian FATCA IGA: Model 1 FATCA Agreement
The Ukrainian FATCA IGA is a Model 1 FATCA Agreement. In order to understand what this means, we need to explore the two types of FATCA IGAs – Model 1 and Model 2. The Model 2 FATCA treaty requires FFIs to individually enter into an FFI Agreement with the IRS in order to report the required FATCA information directly to the IRS (for example, Switzerland signed a Model 2 treaty).
On the other hand, the Model 1 treaty requires FFIs in a “partner country” (i.e. the country that signed a Model 1 FATCA agreement) to report the required FATCA information regarding US accounts to the local tax authorities. Then, the tax authorities of the partner country share this information with the IRS.
Thus, the Ukrainian FFIs will report FATCA information to the Ukrainian tax authorities first. Then, the Ukrainian IRS will turn over this information to the IRS.
Impact of Ukranian FATCA IGA on Noncompliant US Taxpayers
The implementation of the Ukrainian FATCA IGA means that the Ukrainian FFIs either have already implemented or will soon implement the necessary KYC (Know Your Client) procedures. Using these procedures, the FFIs will collect the required FATCA information concerning their US customers and send this information to the Ukranian tax authorities, which, in turn, will share this information with the IRS.
Then, the IRS will process this information in order to identify noncompliant US taxpayers. Once it reaches this point, the IRS will most likely investigate these persons and determine whether to conduct a civil audit or proceed with a criminal prosecution.
In other words, since November 18, 2019, US taxpayers who have undisclosed foreign accounts in Ukraine have been at an ever-increasing risk of the IRS detection. Once their noncompliance is verified by the IRS, these taxpayers, may face the imposition of draconian IRS penalties and potentially even a criminal prosecution.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help Undisclosed Ukrainian Foreign Accounts and Other Assets
If you have undisclosed Ukrainian assets (including Ukrainian bank accounts) and/or Ukrainian-source income, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help as soon as possible. We have successfully helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the globe (including Ukrainians) to resolve their past US tax noncompliance issues, and we can help you!