The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) [Sections 1471-1474 of the Internal Revenue Code] was enacted to prevent U.S. taxpayers from evading U.S. tax obligations by parking funds in foreign accounts or with foreign investors. FATCA requires each U.S. entity to withhold 30% of certain payments made after 2012 to foreign investors or foreign lenders unless such foreign entities satisfy certain new disclosure and reporting requirements.
Failure to comply with FATCA will subject the U.S. entity to penalties and fines. Domestic lenders and domestic borrowers alike should ensure that foreign entities are FATCA compliant by adding language to the parties’ credit agreement that obligates each existing and future foreign entity to provide tax documents, certificates and other tax information upon demand. An example of such language follows:
Promptly upon receipt of written request, each Foreign Lender shall deliver to the Borrower and the Agent any information, document, or certificate, properly completed and in a manner prescribed by law or satisfactory to the Borrower or the Agent, as the case may be, in order to permit the Borrower or the Agent to make a payment under this Agreement or the Loan Documents without any withholding on account of any tax otherwise required to be withheld under FATCA, and each Foreign Lender shall strictly comply with any disclosure or information reporting requirements (including entering into an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service) that are required to secure an exemption from any United States withholding taxes.
Depending on whether you are a domestic lender or domestic borrower, FATCA raises other issues you may want to consider with your legal advisor.