FATCA stands for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and is a United States law that has been designed to achieve transparency on taxation matters.
FATCA is directed particularly at banks, insurance companies and the fund management industry outside the USA – all of them must implement the requirements of FATCA.
The basis for the legislation in Germany is a treaty between the United States and Germany to promote tax compliance in relation to international transactions (the so-called FATCA agreement), passed in 2013. The FATCA agreement obliges financial institutions in Germany to comprehensively collect and pass on the account-related data of US taxpayers from the 1 July 2014.
Furthermore, in the course of 2014, German financial institutions are required to register on the FATCA portal of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since 2 June 2014, the IRS has published a monthly list of all registered institutions with the country they are domiciled in and their Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN).
All Helaba’s customers undergo a check with regard to their U.S. tax status.
At the focus are accounts that are either held for natural persons who are U.S. taxpayers, FATCA relevant U.S. companies or for certain foreign companies with at least one substantial US shareholder (passive NFFE).
If there are indications that a customer could be a U.S. taxpayer, Helaba must clarify and report this.
From 1 July 2014, the U.S. tax liability of new customers has been determined and documented with the aid of the so-called FATCA self-assessment.
Personal customer data and the balance of deposit and suspense accounts of U.S. taxpayers as well as the proceeds and earnings of these accounts will be reported to the German Federal Central Tax Office (BzSt) from 2015 onwards.
Should a customer fail to provide any information, Helaba is obliged to report this to the BzSt.