Trinidad and Tobago gets reprieve on FATCA

Trinidad and Tobago has received a reprieve on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) from the United States Treasury Department.

Minister of Finance Colm Imbert made this announcement when he presented the country’s $53.4 billion budget in parliament last week.’

He said: “We gave the United States Treasury a detailed step-by-step plan with respect to meeting our obligations under FACTA. I am pleased to report the United States Treasury has informed us that because we’ve signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement, demonstrated firm resolve to achieve compliance by seeking to enact necessary governing legislation and we’ve submitted a detailed plan of action to achieve compliance with FACTA, we’re considered, as of now, to have a tax information exchange ‘in effect’ with the USA. As such Trinidad and Tobago will not be subject to any immediate sanctions arising from our inability to meet the FACTA reporting deadline of Sept. 30, 2016.”

However, the minister said the United States Treasury will be monitoring Trinidad and Tobago’s progress into 2017 and if it does not achieve full compliance by the next reporting deadline, Trinidad and Tobago will be removed from the list of countries that have an Inter-Governmental Agreement in effect and subjected to the full brunt of the sanctions from FACTA non-compliance.

Imbert said it became apparent the Opposition wouldn’t support the tax bill, so he had to communicate with the United States Treasury to explain the situation.

The FACTA legislation came up in Parliament last month but the debate had to be put off because of the unwillingness of the Opposition to support the Tax Information and Exchange Agreement Bill 2016, designed to make Trinidad and Tobago FACTA compliant and to ensure local banks and insurance companies will not be subject to a 30 percent withholding tax on United States currency flowing from the United States into the local banking system, or vice versa, among other serious adverse consequences, such as the loss of corresponding banking.

Debate on the bill has been put off until the completion of the debate on the budget.

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