The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers has established an online portal to allow brokers to access forms related to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Washington-based council said Wednesday.
FATCA, which takes effect July 1, will require insurance brokers to document that every non-U.S. financial institution with which they do business is FATCA-compliant or FATCA exempt.
While the original intent of the law, which was signed in 2010, was to prevent tax evasion by U.S. entities placing funds overseas via investment vehicles, the law also applies to some property/casualty placements. Demonstrating compliance will require a certificate issued by the IRS to be collected from every non-U.S. financial institution involved with insurance coverage with even the slightest exposure to U.S. risk.
The council's www.w8bene.com portal will house each foreign insurer's W-8BEN-E IRS forms so brokers can access the ones they need at any time.
The council said there will be a “nominal cost associated with the portal”, but the group is allowing users a free trial period until Jan. 1, 2015.
“Our industry is facing a tight deadline with July 1 right around the corner, and we're doing all we can to help educate and prepare brokers and foreign insurers alike for this massive change in process,” Council President and CEO Ken A. Crerar said in a statement.
“FATCA has grabbed the attention of the world brokerage community, but a lot of confusion remains,” he said. “In an effort to simplify the form exchange between U.S. brokers and foreign insurers, we’re working hard to build the most complete clearinghouse for these IRS forms.”
So far, the website allows visitors to register for FATCA email updates, obtain news articles and download a council webinar about the impact of the new law. A complete set of frequently asked questions compiled by the council’s general counsel will be posted when the final instructions become available.