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05 Feb 2013


Euro & Finance

Focus on FATCA was the theme of the conference staged in Rome on 1 February by the European Banking Federation (EBF), hosted by the Italian Banking Association. 

Practitioners and experts of the European banking sector gathered with representatives of national tax administrations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development  and the European Commission to discuss the implications of implementing FATCA (Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act). 

“When drafting FATCA, the US authorities originally aimed at fighting tax fraud and off-shore tax abuses by US citizens”, declared Guido Ravoet, Chief Executive of the EBF. “But FATCA has now turned into a catalyst for an entirely new international fiscal landscape, in which financial intermediaries like banks are increasingly required to play the role of tax intermediaries and to report detailed information on investors.

This is not our role.”

During a one-hour video-conference, Attorneys of the US Internal Revenue Service answered questions on the final Regulations which were issued two weeks ago.

“Clearly, a number of essential parts are still missing, as well as actual guidance, which complicates the efforts of the financial industry to be ready on time”, said Ravoet. 

Industry representatives acknowledged that there was very little time left to finish overhauling FATCA systems and procedures within the deadline. “The proposed FATCA implementation plans still have to be modified to reflect the Regulations”, added Ravoet. “Financial institutions have a lot more to do; for instance in developing compliance plans, identifying officers and adapting their technological systems.”