Belgium publishes draft FATCA Guidelines

On 4 May 2015, the Belgian tax administration released a draft of its FATCA guidelines on its e-services web page (http://financien.belgium.be/nl/E-services/fatca).

FATCA or Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is US legislation that targets global tax evasion by US citizens. FATCA requires financial institutions outside the United States to send certain information about their clients who are US citizens, to the US tax authorities, the IRS.

On 23 April 2014, Belgium and the USA signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in which the Ministry of Finance undertakes to transfer data to the IRS required by FATCA.  Belgium is working on legislation that will allow the automatic exchange of information about the Belgian accounts of US citizens.  The financial institutions will be required to report every year the information targeted by FATCA to the Finance Ministry. The “Reporting Financial Institutions” will do so via the MyMinFinPro portal in a FATCA-XML file ; the format of that file has been determined in mutual agreement between the Finance Ministry and Febelfin / Assuralia, the professional organisation of the financial institutions and the insurance companies.

The FATCA guidelines are a 138 page document under the name “Implementation of International Tax Compliance (United States of America) Regulations 2013 Belgian Guidance Notes” that explains how Belgian financial institutions and insurance companies must implement FATCA and the Intergovernmental Agreement.  The document can be found here.

Although the “Reporting Financial Institutions” should start reporting to the Belgian tax authorities by 30 June 2015 at the latest, there still is no legislation that implements FATCA or the Intergovernmental Agreement.  There is not much time left, and it is unlikely that the law will be adopted by Parliament and/or published in the Belgian State Gazette by the deadline of 30 June. However, the Belgian Tax Authorities then still have three months to report to the IRS.

Author: Marc Quaghebeur

Marc Quaghebeur is a Belgian tax lawyer with Cabinet DAVID specialising in international tax issues and cross border estate planning. He is a member of the Brussels Bar and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. He

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