Foreign Account Compliance: Are Foreign Policies Included?
Posted by William Byrnes on December 20, 2011
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was designed as a comprehensive measure to combat offshore tax evasion—a noble aim. However, FATCA’s comprehensiveness is also a burden for many in the financial services industry, especially insurance carriers and producers. In comments to regulators, one foreign life insurance trade organization, the Association of International Life Offices (AILO), recently called FATCA’s requirements “onerous and disproportionate to the risk involved.”
Passed as part of H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act) on March 18, 2010, FATCA combats tax evasion by requiring disclosure from foreign institutions about accounts held by people, including U.S. citizens, and institutions risk being subject to U.S. tax. Many life insurance and annuity contracts are classified “accounts” under the Act, although FATCA doesn’t generally apply to property, casualty, and term life insurance contracts.
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For previous coverage of FATCA in Advisor’s Journal, see IRS Proposed FATCA Guidance Expands Offshore Compliance Initiatives (CC 10-52) & Offshore’s Limited Shelf Life (CC 10-47).