FATCA, for the uninitiated is an acronym for US (foreign account tax compliance act) legislation that was introduced to assist the US IRS recover tax from US taxpayers’ undeclared foreign income.
FATCA has application in New Zealand by virtue of an inter-governmental agreement (IGA). There has also been legislative amendments made to NZ legislation to accommodate FATCA.
FATCA is complicated and for, most New Zealanders, of no moment (apart from the flow on effects from related additional identification information). However, for a small fraction attention is required and there can be FATCA obligations that relate to trusts that meet the FATCA regime definition of “financial institutions”. Unless an exemption applies, trusts that are financial institutions as defined by FATCA must register on the IRS website whether or not the trustees have US connections or investments.
A trust that only owns a family home will not be a financial institution. However, where a trust has a portfolio of shares or bonds that are managed by an “investment entity” (for example an investment adviser) the trust may be required to register as a financial institution itself on the IRS website and obtain a global intermediary identification number (GIN).
A trust that needs to register must do so by 31 December 2014. For more information see http://www.ird.govt.nz/taxagents/taxtechnical/fatca/#06
Also see Dropping the (FATCA) Bomb