IRS unveils first FATCA list

Around 77,000 foreign financial institutions have registered with the US tax agency and received a GIIN number.

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published its first list of foreign financial institutions, including around 2,800 fund managers, which have registered to meet the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

For some firms, making this first list – which will be used by banks, custodians and other types of withholding agents to verify FATCA compliance – may be important in order to avoid withholding tax.

Even those firms who will submit tax information to their home government, as opposed to entering into a direct reporting relationship with the IRS (as a percentage of GPs will need to do) must complete the online registration form to make the list. Those that don’t will suffer a painful 30 percent withholding tax on certain payments travelling out of the US.

The list, released on Monday, shows every registrant’s global intermediary identification number (GIIN) which is needed for FATCA reporting.

FATCA will go live this July, but with regard to its reporting, due diligence, and withholding provisions, the IRS is to refrain from enforcing many of its requirements until March 31, 2015 for GPs reporting directly to the IRS and September 30, 2015 for those reporting via their local regulators.

The full list is available on the IRS’ website and there is also a link to download the list to make it searchable. A user guide has also been posted online to explain the list’s features.

Withholding agents may rely on an FFI's claim of FATCA status based on checking the GIIN against the published FFI List.

An updated list will be posted monthly with the first updated list being posted by the IRS on July 1.