Are you a US-based business looking to set up a corporate bank account in France?
The Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) is a US law passed in 2010 by the Obama administration to fight against fraudulent tax avoidance by the estimated 9 million US persons and businesses holding bank accounts and financial assets outside the USA. Under US pressure, 113 countries signed up to FATCA compliancy rules. As far as France is concerned, then French finance minister Pierre Moscovici signed the FATCA Treaty in July 2013, making it mandatory for companies looking to do business in France.
From 2013, a new, complicated 8-page form called the W-8BEN-E form, must be filled in by businesses, which requires responses to over forty questions every three years.
Here at Maupard, our team of experienced accountants can complete this form on your company’s behalf quickly and accurately.
Correctly filling in this complicated document will add to your credibility in the eyes of the bank when presenting an application for opening a bank account and increase the likelihood that the bank will agree to open your account.
Should you make a mistake in filling out this form, you do not have to worry; but your bank will be subject to penalties: a $10,000 fine for failure to file the form, an additional penalty of up to $50,000 for continued failure to file after IRS notification, and a 40% penalty on understatements of tax on non-disclosed assets. With these stringent penalties for banks, an incorrectly filled in FATCA form makes your application most likely to be rejected.
Who is concerned by FATCA in France?
Two scenarios require FATCA compliance in France:
- Doing business in France
- If you are a US citizen, US resident or green-card holder with business in France, French banks will request a FATCA form when trying to open a corporate bank account (W-8BEN-E)
- US individuals that hold $50,000 or more are subject to FATCA compliance requirements.
- Opening a corporate bank account in France
- US persons opening a bank account in France will also be required to complete a FATCA form.
What are the risks for the signing party in case of non-compliance?
When a non-U.S. financial institution does not comply with FATCA, the IRS will impose a 30% withholding tax on payments from non-U.S. sources made to that financial institution or its customers.
Is it possible that a bank refuses to open your account even though the FATCA form was completed by a company?
A bank may decline to open an account for you at any time, even if you have correctly completed a FATCA form; here at Maupard, if we fill out your form, you are less likely to be refused due to our diligence and experience in completing these complex forms, plus our close relationship with numerous Parisian banks.
Due to bankers’ fears about FATCA non-compliance penalties, having the relevant FATCA form completed before presenting your dossier to the banker greatly increases the chance of your account being opened. Whilst for companies the W-BEN-E form is complicated and time-consuming, at Maupard Fiduciaire, we can facilitate the opening of your bank account by accurately and speedily completing this form for you thanks to our large network of accounting professionals.
- The sanctions for non-compliance with FATCA are very severe – a penalty of 30% of undeclared assets in the bank account is payable by banks, which results in reluctance to open accounts for US individuals and businesses with links to the US.
- The banker will therefore be tempted to refuse the file, whatever the quality, upon discovering that he will have a complicated FATCA declaration to complete.
- At Maupard, we can do it. Our strategy is to complete your form in advance and include it in the application dossier we personally present to the banker, highly increasing the chance of him agreeing to open your account.