On Tuesday, May 28, the Economic and Monetary Committee of the European Parliament held a public hearing on the implications for Europe of FATCA implementation.
FAWCO and AARO wrote to two members of the EU Committee expressing concern for two segments of the population they represent: Europeans with American spouses or domestic/business partners, and "accidental" Americans with dual nationality, who are often not even aware that they are, or could be considered to be, American citizens. Click here for a copy of that letter.
Invited to speak to the Committee members were the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Tax Affairs from the US Treasury Department, and representatives of the OECD, the European Commission, Eurodad (the European Network on Debt and Development) and the European Banking Federation.
Issues of considerable concern at the hearing included protection of sensitive data in transborder information exchange, uniform standards in accounting procedures, the clear definition of tax havens and means of avoiding a 2-tier FATCA system whereby tax havens and developing countries would not apply the same standards as other tax jurisdictions, the difficulty and costs for banking systems to be FATCA-compliant by January 1, 2014, the questionable legality under EU law of the transfer of information implied by FATCA and, indeed, protection of the rights of EU citizens.
Reference was also made to the possibility of an "EU-27" global agreement with the United States, as opposed to the individual FATCA treaties now being signed or negotiated.
FAWCO will try to remain informed about future hearings and discussions on this important issue and encourages EU residents to find out the position of their Members of the European Parliament. Click here for a complete list of the MEPs on this committee and consider contacting those from the country where you reside, if you or a family member are an EU citizen worried about the implications of FATCA for you in Europe (privacy rights, possible loss of banking access, data protection, etc.).