August 7, 2012
Harvey: FATCA -- A Report from the Front Lines
In this article, Harvey reports on two recent FATCA debates in Switzerland where he was responsible for explaining the background that led to FATCA and defending the enactment of FATCA. As a result, Harvey was clearly the least popular person in the room. This article summarizes certain issues discussed during the debates, including: (i) whether Swiss sovereignty has been violated; (ii) does FATCA generate enough revenue to justify its existence; (iii) whether Swiss FIs have considered the impact of a multilateral FATCA regime on their business model; and (iv) how to address the extensive termination of US accounts by Swiss financial institutions. The article also briefly discusses the ultimate need for a multilateral FATCA regime that involves many major countries with one of the key issues being the need to develop globally acceptable customer due diligence procedures. Harvey suggests that tax authorities may want to increase coordination with the anti-money laundering/terrorist financing arms of government. Detailed customer due diligence may be easier to justify if it is being done for both tax and anti-terrorist/money laundering reasons.
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From reading this article, it is obvious that FATCA was drafted by people with no real understanding of how cross-border investment works and what financial resources Americans need to live in another country. He is genuinely puzzled by the Swiss reaction by limiting access to financial accounts by Americans. His article shows that he is absolutely clueless about how people in the private sector think and how they react to government regulation.
Posted by: TexEcon | Aug 7, 2012 10:42:10 AM