While many retirees choose to spend their golden years close to home, others are opting to spend their retirement in a foreign country. Unfortunately, a “foreign” retirement may attract troubling scrutiny from the IRS and the implementation of FATCA.
According to a recent Bloomberg article titled “Foreign Retirement Plans Seen Scrutinized in U.S. Effort: Taxes” FATCA, or the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, is a 2010 law set to crack down on foreign accounts held either intentionally or otherwise to elude U.S. taxation.
While it has been a surprisingly effective initiative, FATCA also has caused headaches for some unintentional targets. Banking in various parts of the world has already felt some sting. Foreign banks (notably Swiss banks) have been bogged down with FATCA regulations and some have taken it out on Americans abroad.
If you have been thinking of retiring to foreign shores for some time, then you might be familiar with FATCA. However, as the Bloomberg article notes, the scrutiny attending FATCA is about to reach out into retirement accounts.
Retirement accounts are, generally, designed to be exempt. Nevertheless, the problem is intervening international laws, government-to-government agreements, and ensuring that your foreign retirement does not fall within the sights of FATCA. Instead, you need to ensure that your retirement finds its rightful exemption.
This is a developing issue. If you might be affected, then it is essential that you stay informed.
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Reference: Bloomberg (August 28, 2013) “Foreign Retirement Plans Seen Scrutinized in U.S. Effort: Taxes”