The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has that unfortunate combination of qualities that strikes fear into the hearts of hedge fund managers and investors: ambiguity and significant penalties. FATCA is set to become effective as of January 1, 2013, but final rules have not yet been promulgated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. At the same time, sizable financial penalties can be imposed for noncompliance. Accordingly, the hedge fund industry is paying close attention to FATCA developments. Given the serious ramifications of non-compliance with FATCA and the significant uncertainty regarding the details of final regulations, the Hedge Fund Law Report conducted an interview with James K. Wall, a Principal and International Tax Director at J.H. Cohn LLP, concerning FATCA and its implications for hedge fund managers and investors. Our interview with Wall covered various topics, including key questions hedge fund managers still face relating to FATCA compliance; due diligence and compliance measures that hedge fund managers must take; operational challenges in becoming FATCA compliant; whether the hedge fund or the manager should be responsible for bearing costs and expenses in connection with FATCA compliance; dealing with recalcitrant investors; policies and procedures that hedge fund managers should consider adopting for FATCA compliance; what to communicate to fund investors about FATCA; and whether fund governing documents must be amended to include FATCA-related provisions. This article contains the transcript of our interview with Wall. See also “U.S. Releases Helpful FATCA Guidance, But the Law Still Remains
,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 5, No. 10 (Mar. 8, 2012).