I.R.S. RELEASES “GOOD FAITH” NOTICE
I.R.S. Notice 2014-33, issued on May 2, 2014, established a major relaxation of the F.A.T.C.A. withholding regime that will begin on July 1, 2014. While not providing for a delayed implementation, the Notice says that all affected persons may treat 2014 and 2015 as a transition period in which such parties must show a good faith effort to comply with F.A.T.C.A. As long as they act in good faith, there will be no liability for any withholding agent who did not properly withhold for F.A.T.C.A. or for any Foreign Financial Institution (“F.F.I.”) that failed to properly register or fill out the appropriate forms. While the scope of actions that comprise good faith is somewhat unclear, this notice eliminates the need for withholding agents to seek perfection in F.A.T.C.A. compliance, which may have driven them to over-withhold.
The I.R.S. also said that the definition of a pre-existing account will be delayed from July 1, 2014, to January 1, 2015. As a result, new on-boarding procedures can be delayed until January 1, 2015, and U.S. withholding agents do not have to get the new forms such as the Form W-8BEN-E until the end of the year. Likewise, F.F.I.’s do not have to get those forms from their own account holders until the end of the year.
I.R.S. RELEASES VARIOUS FORMS, INSTRUCTIONS
The I.R.S. released the much anticipated Form W-8IMY on April 30. The Form W-8IMY will need to be used by qualified or non-qualified intermediaries, foreign partnerships and foreign simple or grantor trusts. The I.R.S. has still not released instructions that will supplement the newly published F.A.T.C.A. compliant forms. I.R.S. officials said that the agency is working diligently to complete instructions for the series of W-8 forms covering W-8BEN-E, W-8IMY and W-8EXP.