Thursday, 5 January 2017

Update to post in Wikipedia on FATCA - Jan 5, 2017

After going through the minimal posting on Tax Treaties  in Wikipedia, I decided to explore the US Treasury site and in looking at the information according to "date",  which relates to the Additional FATCA Documents, I noted the following:
  1. FATCA Statements: Since 2012 Joint Statements on FATCA have been released to the public from countries such as  the USA and UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain; the US and Switzerland, and the USA and Japan
  2. Notification of More Favorable Terms: Between 2014 and 2015, there were notifications which were sent to Jurisdictions updating them as to changes which were agreed to in other Jurisdictions. 
We would call a jurisdiction, "country, island" and where those terms do not match our understanding or where there are changes in the status of the country, we become perplexed.

A little anecdote to bridge my accounting, tax and vacation background. Sometimes when I was on vacation I would visit a small island, partly because I liked the history which was displayed throughout the capital, there were forts which were restored, museums, and lots of history was displayed throughout the city, which in spite of language barriers was enough  to allow me to be comfortable wandering around in daylight and in the early hours of the evening.

There were signs, you are here and there was a map of the streets and there were descriptions of places and the city was small. There were outskirts to which one could walk either to or from the main area if there was no vehicle or public transportation available.

Needless to say one year I came into a sum of money which seemed to be material to my pocket at that time, so much so that after paying for my room and deducting other expenses, there was still a good bit to return home with, which when converted to the local currency was a good bit of savings.

Upon inquiry at one location,  I found out that there was no with holding tax available so that I could account for my "winnings" in that country. Perhaps I did not ask the correct questions which might have been:

  • Can I register for a tax number?
  • Can I pay income tax or some form of tax on the earnings?
Be that as it may, I could not bring home the funds without, at that time, paying taxes in that country, so back to all of the similar places where it could have come from, it went... Perhaps I had learnt "not to let things get the better of me," but it did not pain me much to give the money back....  As long as I had allowed other persons to benefit or the chance to benefit, I was free...

Now that I am of a different state and level of knowledge, I would suggest that funding be provided so that countries can put everyone on the same page and :

  • Allow Inland Revenue offices to be opened in airports 24/7 and 
  • Have small offices opened in the ports and marinas where boats can dock or enter for repairs
  • Be staffed with multilingual persons, so that persons can be assisted with some of their queries (Tax Assistance on the spot;)
  • Have  printed forms for registration for tax numbers
  • Issue tax numbers immediately  at those spots. (Another level of staffing, a laptop, internet, a printer and a stamp.
  • Have printed forms for the remittance of taxes, such as withholding tax so that persons can elect to make "on the spot payments" after having a streak of luck outside of regular working hours.
  • Have signs, electronic and otherwise  posted at intervals in the vicinity of the airport, ports and other marina facilities with the following prompts? 
    • Have you received cash or assets in the country? Did you account for it?
    • Are you leaving with some one else's asset? Did you pay for it with funds earned from here? 
    • What is your responsibility with respect to this asset? 
    • Do you have insurance to cover the movement of the asset, should something happen to it?
    • Do you plan to pay for the asset when you get to another country? What is your responsibility with respect to this asset there?
If you have answered yes, to any of the questions, then see Room 101 and ask for assistance.

That's all for now, have a good day!!! 

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