The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) heralds a new world order for the disclosure of tax information related to offshore accounts. FATCA requires Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs), including offshore private funds, to provide tax information on accounts maintained by specified U.S. persons, recalcitrant investors or nonparticipating financial institutions. Given the IRS’ unprecedented extraterritorial powers to gather information on FFIs operating as private funds, FATCA will impose tremendous burdens (both in terms of time and cost) on such offshore private funds. Yet, the law offers little practical guidance on how managers can establish and maintain programs to become and remain FATCA-compliant. With this in mind, this guest article – authored by Peter Stafford, an Associate Director at DMS Offshore Investment Services – is designed to help offshore private funds identify and address some of the challenges they face in becoming FATCA-compliant. Among other things, this article, organized in a question and answer format, addresses: the timeline for FATCA compliance; steps necessary to register with the IRS; whether certain funds are exempt from FATCA; the roles and responsibilities of the FATCA Responsible Officer (FRO); who should serve as the FRO; FATCA reporting to regulators; components of an effective FATCA compliance program; effective investor due diligence procedures; FATCA disclosures in fund documents; insurance coverage for and indemnification of the FRO; and allocation of FATCA-related expenses between the fund and the manager. For more background on FATCA and its obligations, see “What Impact Will FATCA Have on Offshore Hedge Funds and How Should Such Funds Prepare for FATCA Compliance?
,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 6, No. 5 (Feb. 1, 2013).