FATCA is here, get ready

Published by Cayman Journal – June 2013

Cayman Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance will host a seminar on the implementation of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. 

On 15 March 2013, the Cayman Islands Government announced its intention to sign an agreement with the US authorities to adopt a Model 1 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in response to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Since then, Cayman has seen a significant move from other countries to implement a similar model. More recently the minister for financial services communicated the Cayman Islands’ commitment to the UK government to join the G5, working together with other pilot project countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, to develop a multilateral standard for the automatic exchange of tax information. Both efforts demonstrate Cayman’s continued determination to promote transparency and to take a leading role in the exchange of information for tax purposes, where a common approach improves efficiencies and avoids the risk of multiple competing standards.

The FATCA guidelines are substantial, which means companies will need to invest significant time and resources to understand and implement them, and as more countries develop similar initiatives the complexity is bound to increase.

Cayman Finance, in collaboration with the Ministry for Financial Services, has developed a FATCA Seminar to be held on Thursday, 27 June 2013, at the Westin Casuarina, Grand Cayman, focused on offering practical insight into the measures firms and other financial entities should be taking to comply with the regulation, an up-to-date picture of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) process, and an indication of where the future of automatic exchange of information as a global standard might go.

The seminar aims to assist companies with navigating through the complex legislation and, in particular, address the questions arising from compliance and the penalties for non-compliance financial service organisations will face.

The half day seminar starts at 8am for breakfast and registration and will be hosted by Cayman Finance CEO, Gonzalo Jalles. The main event will begin at 8:30am and will feature presentations by key professionals within Cayman’s financial services industry, as well as international speakers.

Dax Basdeo, chief officer in the Ministry for Financial Services will present on the intergovernmental negotiations that led to the decision by the Cayman Islands government to intend to adopt the Model 1 IGA, which requires foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to provide the requisite information to their own governments rather than to the US government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) directly. Basdeo will outline the role the Cayman Islands government will play within this relationship.

Martin Livingston, from Maples & Calder and Steven L Cantor, from Cantor & Webb PA will give a breakdown of the enabling legislation and guidance that created FATCA and outline consequences and legal risks of not being compliant. While the eventual signing of the Model 1 agreement by the Cayman Islands government will considerably offload the requirement of FFIs to deal with the US government’s IRS, FFIs must still register and comply with various US government legal requirements.

Leading on from this presentation, Paul Eldridge, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (Bermuda) will present an overview of the FATCA registration process, and, in particular, he will explain the IRS Portal. FFIs registering to be FATCA compliant will do so through a secure online web portal presented by the IRS, the FATCA Registration Portal. The IRS Portal is designed to accomplish an entirely paperless registration process and the IRS confirms it will be accessible to financial institutions beginning in July 2013.

Eldridge will have more information on this vital aspect of FATCA. He will also explain the new role that FATCA has created, namely the responsible officer and what their key responsibilities will entail as they relate to compliance with the new legislation. In addition, Eldridge will be discussing FATCA compliance for insurance companies as well as steps for moving from assessment to implementation.

This is an excellent opportunity for financial services industry to understand the current regulatory situation in Cayman, why businesses and financial entities such as trusts, funds, insurance companies and special purpose vehicles need to be compliant, and the consequences if they are not.

Registration is open online at www.caymanfinance.ky. Cost to attend is US$50 for Cayman Finance member organisations and US$100 for non-members. All Cayman Finance member organisations are entitled to two complimentary registrations.

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