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Repeal FATCA: new life for critics of offshore tax legislation

There are unquestionably legions of hard-core proponents who readily extol the virtues of FATCA and want to see its legislative fiat persevere in the future.

Notably, though, most of those supporters are individuals, families and business owners with no assets held in overseas banks or other financial institutions.

FATCA, fully spelled out, is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which was enacted into law a few years ago under the Obama administration with the narrowly stated goal of identifying and punishing tax cheats not duly paying monies owed each year to the Internal Revenue Service.

It would be sheer understatement to simply note a lack of unanimity stressing the upsides of FATCA. In fact, naysayers of the legislation say that the law undermines Americans' constitutional rights to privacy. They point out, additionally, that its invasive reach and heavy-handed approach has led to a progressive spike in the number of Americans now surrendering their passports and walking away from U.S. citizenship.

And there is this material criticism, too, as voiced recently by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is an ardent FATCA foe: Paul says that the law "discourages foreign investment and prevents Americans from accessing the financial system overseas."

Paul and fellow legislator, Sen. Mark Meadows (R-NC), introduced a bill earlier this month that would flatly repeal FATCA in all its dimensions. If the legislation passes, it would spell a stunning reversal for a long-hyped law that clearly has teeth and currently operates as a heavy hammer for the IRS.

Debate -- strident and impassioned -- surrounding FATCA is ongoing. We will keep our readers across California duly informed regarding any material developments that emerge regarding this seminal tax legislation.

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