Saturday, May 25, 2013

EU Public Hearing on FATCA

Victoria Ferauge alerted me to the EU public hearing on FATCA coming up this Tuesday, 28 May from 3:30-5pm (Central European Std Time), which is 9:30 am Eastern Standard.  Victoria says:

Given my experience with the OECD, I wanted to be very sure this time around that "public" meant real people could attend. So I sent an email to MEP Sophie in't Veld (many thanks to Mark who passed along her email address).  This was her answer:
Dear Mrs Ferauge,
Thank you for your message. The meetings are public, so you can attend freely. The meeting will also be webstreamed via
With kind regards,
Sophie in 't Veld, MEP
It will be interesting to see how this goes and I very much look forward to Victoria's impressions.  By now FATCA's reach is beginning to be understood by a broader audience, but much (well-founded) fear and confusion remains due to the conflation of tax cheats hiding cash in complicated offshore schemes with Americans living abroad who are just trying to live their lives. I do hope that this public meeting will help clarify things.


  1. I'll make a couple of comments as I was one of the people who at least partially instigated this.

    I don't expect any of scheduled speakers especially the one from IRS/Treasury to be at all sympathetic to the plight of US Persons Abroad. Perhaps the woman representing the European Banking Federaton will raise concerns about costs and red tape but suspect most will try to defend FATCA as if their life depended on it. However, where I think this hearing could get quite interesting is in the questioning. Almost any moderately difficult on any aspect of FATCA effect on US citizens abroad, lack of reciprocity, legality of IGA's under EU and US law etc will all be difficult to explain for FATCA proponents in a cogent way. So the question in some way is how long can assembled speakers run out the clock with softball questions.

    As I told Victoria the 45 minute time period for questions from the members of Parliament is actually quite minimal given the complications of FATCA.

  2. I notice that each speaker is being given five minutes. I have a hard time imagining this can yield a thoughtful discussion on the policies at work, but I could be wrong.

  3. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, Tim, for being on top of things.

    And thank you, Allison, for posting about this hearing. Yes, the format doesn't give much time to the subject but we can work with what we have. People are sending emails to the committee members, at least one official letter will be sent from an American diaspora organization and we have people who have agreed to attend in person. We will try to talk to as many people as possible before and after the meeting.

    Here's hoping that all this encourages the attendees to ask the right/pertinent/important questions about FATCA and how it impacts EU citizens.

  4. Unfortionately, this committee does not have the best reputation in terms of being organized so I suspect it will turn out in actuality to even be shorter than currently scheduled.

    Also the European Parliament as of now has no say in the approval or negotiation of the IGA's as proposed by the larger EU member states. The European Parliament does however, have a say in the EU Savings Tax Directive and proposed agreement regarding the EU STD with Switzerland, Liechtenstein etc. So there is a hook back into FATCA. Additionally the EU privacy laws and directives are under the jurisdiction of the European Parliament(There are some including myself who believe the IGA currently setup is intended to specifically avoid European Parliament approval).

    My personal opinion I have communicated to Victoria and others is for now to avoid the legalize and just on the real and human impacts of this legislation and proposed agreements. The legalize is much deeper and time consuming discussion.

  5. Up on the FAWCO website, a note from Lucy Laederich about the meeting

  6. The EU Parliament Library and Research Service put out a briefing paper in advance of tomorrow. It only scratches the surface(unavoidable given the length) but overall not bad. Too legalistic though in places and doesn't get into some of the practical implications.

  7. A YouTube version of the hearing should now be available below:

    Superior quality as to what is on the EU Parliament's website.