NCB denies sending clients' info to TAJ

Sunday, July 27, 2014

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The National Commercial Bank (NCB) says it has not been providing Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) with customer information, and pointed out that financial institutions here are not yet required to do so under the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

"We wish to advise that we have neither sent, nor are we in the process of sending any information to Tax Administration Jamaica," NCB said in response to a story in last Wednesday's Business Observer stating that the bank had put its customers on FATCA notice.

The story had reported a credible source at NCB as confirming that the bank has, since July 1, commenced the transference of customer information to TAJ.

But on Friday, NCB said that information was "inaccurate and potentially harmful".

FATCA was enacted in 2010 by the United States Congress to target non-compliance by American taxpayers using foreign accounts.

As explained by the US Department of the Treasury, "FATCA requires foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report to the Internal Revenue Service information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest."

NCB also took issue with the Business Observer's report that the term 'Specified US persons', under FATCA, was vague.

Said the bank: "We note also in your general report (not attributed to us) that there was uncertainty around the meaning of US Specified Persons and we do not share the view that the term is uncertain. FATCA is new and being implemented within our jurisdiction with due care and precision so as to, as far as possible, minimise any misunderstanding."

The bank added that it "continues to protect the integrity of client relationships and will advise its customers appropriately on all matters concerning FATCA and its implications".

The high compliance cost to financial institutions, as well as the issues of information safety and reciprocity have been among the concerns raised locally and abroad in relation to the implications of FATCA on the financial sector.




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