Factoring the Costs of FATCA Compliance into the Debate

By Stephen Kangal
December 30, 2016

Stephen KangalIt would appear inevitable that T&T will, in the face of a doomsday scenario, be forced to become FATCA-compliant in the shortest possible time according to the shifting deadlines unilaterally issued by the IRS/Treasury Department. But in quantifying the current and future costs of FATCA compliance one must go beyond the costs to be incurred by individuals, companies, local banks and other financial institutions and the potential loss of their billion-dollar profit margins.

We must also factor in the huge losses/blemishes that the diplomatic and international image as well as the Exchequer/economy/investment climate of the country T&T will suffer.

Additionally the populace is subjected to the anxiety generated by the confrontation between the Government and Opposition and conduct that is unbecoming of a Government that does not seem to understand its role in negotiating balance of power politics to get constitution amending or infringing legislation passed with the three-fifths majority.

What loss of value can we place on the regressive diminution of our sovereignty, political independence and the independent functioning of our Parliamentary democracy by the use of duress, reprisals, threats, interference in our internal affairs etc? Our integrity as a nation-state is under attack from an external force bull-dozing its way on us with threats and reprisals associated with the Munroe Doctrine of yesteryear.

Are we still living in a globalized village, borderless world with reasonable expectations for mutual respect and interdependence of nation-states that are being dismantled as a cost to us by FACTA dictat?

The current debate seems to be revolving exclusively on the axis of blind, pro- country FACTA loyalists versus partisan Opposition-based politics. Many are claiming conveniently to putting country first by their indiscriminate short-sighted definition of the imbroglio and support, most notable of which is the Bankers Association.

The media reinforced and fed by the PNM propaganda machinery is promoting the view that the PNM Government has developed a patriotic stand. It has the ultimate and exclusive responsibility to achieve passage of the Bill with the requisite three-fifths (26) majority. Hitherto it has failed to mobilise Opposition support by influencing it positively.

The fault for this FACTA fracas lies exclusively with them and them alone. They are the Government according to the late Makandal Daaga.

The PNM has been conducting itself in a most impetuous, politically partisan, irresponsible and adversarial manner using Parliament to derive cheap political mileage by discrediting the Opposition at every turn. They even reneged on their JSC agreement. That is not the strategy that will compel and evoke the support of the Opposition – a sine qua non to the passage of FACTA 2016 Bill. Bad mouthing the Opposition is counter-productive to your legislative agenda on Constitution-amending bills. You have to stop this fruitless impulsive tirade/jihad Faris et al.

Although the PNM dominates the corridors of power the electorate has imposed limits on the legislative reach/power of the Government. This the political neophytes cannot appreciate being bogged down by the old immature politics of confrontation and disrespect. Three mainstream media editorials have zeroed in on this. They have criticized the PNM for its wanton persistent display of garrulous political immaturity.

So far all that the PNM regime has been doing for fifteen months is piggy-backing on the legislative legacy left by the PP (Bail, Gambling, SSA, FACTA Bills). They have been complaining about lack of automatic support from the Opposition while conducting themselves in a confrontational almost bull-dozing modus operandi. That is not the road map for good effective governance Prime Minister.

14 Responses to “Factoring the Costs of FATCA Compliance into the Debate”


  • The issue is only whether T&T wishes to remain a sovereign nation.

    The Government of our country (Canada), terrified at the prospect of economic sanction by the U.S., decided that it would be much better to sacrifice the rights of its citizens and turn over control of our Government to the United States (which it did) —rather than continue as a sovereign country.

  • T&T should have a “chin wag” with Switzerland, the only other nation showing a modicum of courage.

    No data should be exchanged until the US honours its promise of reciprocity. (Bets are that it will NEVER happen. They have NOT signed onto the OECD’s CRS and would need congressional approval).

    http://www.finews.com/news/english-news/25692-banking-secrecy-tax-evasion-switzerland-demands-us-fatca-reciprocity

  • Another good commentary about the anti-sovereignty FATCA fiasco, Mr. Kanga. Thank you. I wish Canada had held back at passing implementing legislation as long as T&T has done. The dirty deed was done in 2014 though and now the Canadian government is facing a Charter Challenge.

  • What may be made clear is that while there is language in the FATCA IGA in regards to providing reciprocal information to T&T, U.S. banks are not required to go through thier account bases and uncover any T&T account holders, nor are they required to ask the nationalities of all new account applicants – as the FATCA IGA requires for T&T banks for U.S. persons. Thus it will be impossible for the U.S. to provide reciprocal information. Additionally, the powerful U.S. financial industry will likely resist any such requirements due to added cost.

    Other FACTS not mentioned here:

    FATCA IGAs are under authority of Obama Executive Order and do not have the power of an international treaty under the U.S. Constitution as they have not been submitted to the U.S. Senate for review and confirmation.

    The Republican Party Platform calls for the repeal of FATCA.

    There is already a bill in Congress H.R. 5935 to repeal FATCA. Now with Republican controlled POTUS, Senate, and House the chances of this bill getting through without Presidential Veto is greatly elevated.

    Republicans Overseas backs a high powered lawsuit that FATCA and FBAR are unconstitutional on 8 claims.

    Trump (while not saying anything about FATCA specifically)said he would rescind many Obama Executive Orders.

    In Canada, ADCS has a high powered and funded lawsuit that the Canadian FATCA IGA violates the Canadian Charter of Rights, that prohibits discrimination based on national origin.

    Based on all of the above, T&T may wait a few more months to see what transpires.

  • Thanks for this. Very informative

  • Following are the costs including the opportunity cost that I have identified in the article based on the headline because no one is concerned about the huge costs involved that I thought I would highlight as a new dimension of the subject.
    • Financial, qualitative and quantitative costs to be incurred by FFI’s.
    ( Foreign financial institutions include every member of the investment community—banks, credit unions,asset managers, investment funds and pension fund schemes, brokers and insurance companies)

    • The qualitative costs that T&T will pay for damage to its sovereignty, political independence and loss of international respect by having to grovel to the US
    • Loss of parliamentary time spent on FATCA exclusively beneficial to the US
    • Interference in the functioning of Parliament by an external entity/Government breaching the sovereignty/independence of Parliament
    • The loss of opportunity cost based on the altercation between Government and Opposition as well as the assessment of their roles negatively by the media and people and to some extent the decline of the image/importance of Parliament when Opposition members are ejected for the most innocuous reasons.
    • A demonstrated inability (Loss of political stocks) of the Government to adopt a different approach to getting Opposition support instead of a bull—dozing, combative and adversarial tirade in spite of needing that three Opposition votes to achieve the requisite majority of 26.
    • They are also under the false illusion that they should always get the Opposition support for Constitution- infringing bills without realizing that they should always earn and work towards it in a productive positive manner that is severely inhibited/stymied by their arrogance, youthful impetuousness and verbal aggression.
    • The loss of expectation in the benefits to be derived from participating in a globalized village concept as well as from the protection of international law and the privileges and immunities derived from UN membership.

    • Was this your position when the UNC was in office? Do you recall the run off Bill that your government brought in the dead of the night? Also section 34? Did the UNC adopt a new approach or did they not bull-doze? Were they not as arrogant? Why not write with objectivity so that you can be respected and possible earn a few more “likes”. We have a bunch of arrogant politicians on both sides and we the people regardless of party affiliation must be brave enough to tell them all so.

      • MaravalGirl, you are allowing your political persuasions to govern your response and logical thinking.
        Your instinctive, organismic response seems totally unrelated to the issue in question.
        The response to FACTA by the Opposition has nothing to do with Bill 34. It has nothing to do with opposition arrogance. Educate yourself before attempting to offer commentary on matters which seem to be out of your intellectual reach.
        Pray tell me MaravalBitch..oops sorry Girl, what’s the relationship between FACTA and the run off bill brought “in the dead of night”.

      • Section 34 was a good bill but it was skuttled because of two cases before the courts. Thousands suffered as a result of two whom the PNM believed should remain before the courts in perpetuity. And by the laws of unintended consequence destroy the lives of many young black men. Who could have been given a second chance to live freely.

        As for FATCA it is a sovereignty issue and as such must be closely examined regardless of the past. We are dealing with the present. If the mango was placed on the table a year ago it does not mean it still fresh today. Send it to a JSC.

  • MarvalGirl might be on to something here folks.Some much wiser than us all, would however say-‘much ado over nada,’re dis FATCA.
    In his defense however,Mr Stephen K,might say-objectivity is for journalists,which he is not. He is a lawyer/ex Mid level Diplomat,who occasionally moonlight as a columist,or to be more precise Blogger. That’s Journalist categorization ,MaravalGirl ,is for guys such as former Journalist ,PP information Spokesman /PR consultant,such as….ummmm.. Ooooops,wrong example!

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,237898.html

    The fact remains ,that all this FETCA debate, might be irrelevant,if self serving elements,and criminals, are on de verge o bringing T&T to a halt,Venezuela/Brazil style ,hummm?
    These OWTU clowns, did not strike when Afo Eat ah fooder/ULF Founder-&grateful National award recepient – ‘Errol Mackloud’ was labor minister ,& oil was still 300 per barrel,but wish so to do,now that it is 35.Go figure,the stupidity of some unpatriotic citizens.
    Oh ,and by the way people,last we checked ,Auntie Kamla ,on the verge of her 2010 power grab,did say-and I paraphrase-“blood will run in de streets of T&T,”if her UNC dominant PP lost the elections to arrogant ,fake Christian Manning.
    Well,5years later -with no Jack-FIFA -Warner to hold up her sagging ,Political Petitcoat-they did loose,& what do we know – blood is flowing.
    Our T&T is sure looking ungovernable,& the bigger question is what again? Is this a mere coincidence?

    Tell you what,just like yours truly,de Mason Hall Kid ,in Dr Keith,had a Tobago Granny. Let’s just say ,dat mine was extrememely wise,as I akways take great pains in reminding Trini Nation travellers.
    One of her favorite admonitions to yours truly was -‘you can’t make bred out of stone.’
    Unless your emergency meeting ,will see an immediate spike in oil prices,and develop overnight diversification of our stagnant economy.Some might view this posture as a mere ‘act of futility’-as we like to say on de streets.
    Stay Vigilant T&T,while reading de American Political Tea leaves.
    Obama hated Putin ,to the sane degree,that Putin despised him. Trump ,& Putin are presently having a ‘bromance,’with Trump calling the Closet KGB /war criminal,” smart ,”for not retaliating to Yankee diplomatuc expulsions,or sanctions ,administered by Obama.
    Isreal PM Beniman Netan,hated Barrack,even though Barrack offered more Military Aid to his country,than his five predecessors put together.
    Trump love everything about present day Israel,& it’s lovely leader Bejeman Natan,even to the point where he made an Hassidic ,American Right Wing ,pro 1 state, anti Arab zealot his next Ambassador to Israel.So much for Middle East peace process.
    Obama loved the Chinese ,ut Trump don’t trust them,as much as he does Taiwan.
    See a pattern here people? Here is de deal,re the direct subject at hand -FATCA will be scrapped by Trump,on January 21st, day after his inauguration,& Jack-FIFA -Warner,together with the 2 other UNC financial supporting -white color bandits,can relax ,with no more fears of extraditions,for this is how busineas elites roll. They look out for one another.
    Goodby Barrack.8years in office,& neither him,or Yuppy wife,won’t recognize ‘Black Agenda ,’if it rose up from the Killing fields of Chicago-their home state-and kicked them in the face.
    Luv Humanity People,& firget de tribe.

    • The Hassidic community does not recognize the state of Isreal, so why would a Hassidim be an ambassador to Isreal,

  • The differences between Secular Jews ,such as Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton ,2 secular, Jewish son in laws ,or influential ,political players ,such as former Secretary of States, Henry Kissinger/ Madline Albright -are quite miniscule.
    So are the differences, between an Othrodox ,Business / legal wheeler,& dealer,(soon to be Ambassador)with hooks on his President, and the myraid of Ultra- Othrodox, Hassidic folks ,scattered across the globe.
    Feel free to hold your escapist view AI,if it makes you sleep well at nights.
    In contrast to you intellectual midgets, I am not that quick to draw such distinctions,re folks of the same tribe.
    There are a few common threads , that encapsulate the mindset of most Jews , irrespective of their class,gender, age, or geographical location , and here it is , my naive friend:-
    1. Never again , to allow themselves to become genocidal victims, to anyone.
    2. Do absolutely everything in their individual/ collective powers, to ensure the enhancement, and ,protection the interest of the State of Israel.
    3. Curb all attempts at modern revisionism , & so in the process,continually remind the world, as to what was done against their people.m,decades ago in Europe.

    As such , surprise , surprise, a country no larger than the American State of New Jersey, is not only a Non NPT Signatory flaunter , but a Nuclear Power, has -‘me think-‘the 3rd largest military in the world, & still gets the largest amount of military Aid, from Pax Americana-regardless to who sits in the White House.
    In the interim , the vindication of Jimmy Carter continues.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/netanyahu-calls-pardon-convicted-soldier-azaria-170104190028634.html

    No where in the globe, will there be any semblance of PEACE , without 1st , there being JUSTICE. Remember that AI.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/jimmy-carter-israel-s-apartheid-policies-worse-than-south-africa-s-1.206865?v=2B3FAC914FCEB43C730F81A28148F825

    • The problem with racism is the ability to lump everyone in neat pigeon holes. I found out the world is not like that, that is why I sleep well at night. To say that all Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus or any other general religion are the same is racist.

  • The borders of the U.S.A. are the borders of the U.S.A. If a financial institution has no accounts in the U.S.A. how can T&T require it to register with a foreign government and comply with a foreign law? Let each bank decide, as Belize has done and many other countries have done. Read the list at
    https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Pages/FATCA.aspx

    Absent are El Salvador and Ecuador, where the U.S. dollar is the official money. They can survive. How can T&T treat her citizens as United States persons just because they happen to be claimed under U.S.A. laws as such? T&T laws rule in T&T. The U.S.A. government made Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London, England, pay tax on the profit from selling his house in London.

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