6 countries sign US pacts in fight against tax fraud

6 countries sign US pacts in fight against tax fraud
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici (L) and U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin sign the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act)

WASHINGTON - The United States has signed anti-tax fraud pacts with six countries and territories including some considered tax havens, the US Treasury Department said Thursday.

The Netherlands, Malta, and the British territories of Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man signed various bilateral agreements with the US during the past week to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Treasury said in a statement.

FATCA, enacted by Congress in 2010, requires information reporting and withholding tax provisions that target non-compliance by US taxpayers using foreign accounts.

Under the law, US financial institutions must withhold a portion of certain payments made to foreign financial institutions which do not agree to identify and report information on US account holders.

"FATCA continues to gather momentum as we work with partners worldwide to combat offshore tax evasion," said Robert Stack, the Treasury's deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs.

"This large number of signings in one week alone sends a strong signal to tax evaders everywhere: international support for FATCA is growing."

To date, the United States has signed 18 FATCA intergovernmental agreements, has 11 agreements in substance, and is conducting related discussions with many other jurisdictions, the Treasury said.

Bermuda signed an agreement with the US on Thursday that means it will direct and aid foreign financial institutions in the British overseas territory to register with the US tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service, and report the required information directly to the IRS.

The Netherlands, Malta, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, signed another type of agreement this week which requires the foreign financial institutions to report the information to their home governments, which in turn will report it to the IRS.

A 2013 Congressional Research Service report to Congress said that Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey, Malta and the Isle of Man are cited on lists of tax havens, while the Netherlands is considered to have "tax haven characteristics."

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