What is Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Get to Know Everything About Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
May 3, 2024
min read

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) represents a pivotal shift in global financial reporting and tax compliance, particularly affecting Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and their financial obligations to the United States.

Enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2010, FATCA aims to combat tax evasion by U.S. persons holding investments in offshore accounts. 

Through stringent reporting requirements, FATCA compels foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and certain non-financial foreign entities to report information about accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold substantial ownership interest. 

In this blog, we understand FATCA and its requirements. This regulation has wide-reaching implications for NRIs, especially those with financial ties to the U.S.

Understanding FATCA's Scope and Purpose

At its core, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is designed to ensure transparency and compliance with U.S. tax laws by Americans, irrespective of where they live or where their investments are located.

The FATCA full form — Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act — underscores its goal: to uncover hidden foreign accounts and assets and bring them into compliance with U.S. tax laws.

FATCA Declaration and Reporting

A crucial component of FATCA compliance is the FATCA declaration, a process through which individuals and FFIs disclose their financial assets held in foreign countries to the IRS.

This declaration is not only mandatory for financial institutions outside the U.S. but also impacts individuals, including NRIs, who must report their foreign financial assets on their U.S. tax returns using Form 8938 if the total value exceeds the reporting threshold.

FATCA, CRS, and Global Tax Compliance

The implementation of FATCA has also paved the way for the development of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS FATCA full form), a global standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information between governments.

While FATCA specifically targets U.S. persons, CRS aims for a broader scope of tax compliance across multiple jurisdictions, enhancing transparency and cooperation between countries.

What is FATCA Declaration in India?

In India, the FATCA declaration involves disclosing information about financial accounts and assets to Indian financial institutions, which in turn report this information to the Indian tax authorities.

This data is then shared with the U.S. under the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between India and the U.S., ensuring compliance of NRIs with both Indian and U.S. tax laws.

The Impact of FATCA on Financial Planning for NRIs

The introduction of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has significant implications for the financial planning strategies of Non-Resident Indians.

NRIs with ties to the U.S. must now take a proactive approach to their financial and tax planning, ensuring that all foreign accounts and assets are compliant with FATCA regulations. 

This necessitates a thorough review of their financial portfolios, including bank accounts, investments, and other assets held outside of India and the U.S., to ascertain their reporting obligations.

The meticulous nature of FATCA's requirements means that NRIs need to engage in detailed financial planning to avoid any inadvertent non-compliance, which could lead to severe financial penalties.

Navigating Compliance: A Strategic Approach for NRIs

Navigating the compliance landscape that FATCA presents requires a strategic approach from NRIs. This involves not only understanding what is FATCA declaration in India but also the implications of their financial decisions on their FATCA obligations.

For instance, NRIs considering investing in new financial instruments or opening new accounts must evaluate how these decisions fit into their overall compliance strategy. 

This may involve consulting with tax professionals who specialize in FATCA and cross-border taxation to ensure that their financial activities do not inadvertently lead to non-compliance.

Moreover, staying informed about any changes in FATCA regulations or reporting requirements is crucial for NRIs to maintain compliance and optimize their financial planning strategies.


In conclusion, FATCA plays a critical role in the financial lives of NRIs with U.S. tax obligations, demanding transparency and compliance with tax laws.

Understanding and adhering to FATCA's requirements is essential for NRIs to manage their financial assets effectively and avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance. 


Q1. What is FATCA and how does it impact NRIs?

FATCA, or the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, impacts NRIs by requiring those with financial accounts and assets in the U.S. to report these to the IRS. It also mandates foreign financial institutions to report accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, directly affecting NRIs with U.S. tax obligations. The act aims to prevent tax evasion and ensure that all global income of U.S. persons is reported and taxed accordingly.

Q2. Who is required to comply with FATCA regulations?

FATCA regulations apply to U.S. taxpayers, including U.S. citizens, green card holders, tax residents, foreign financial institutions, and non-financial foreign entities. NRIs with a tax obligation to the U.S., either through citizenship or investment, must comply by disclosing their foreign assets and financial accounts.

Q3. What information does FATCA require NRIs to provide to financial institutions?

FATCA requires NRIs to provide detailed information to financial institutions about their identities, U.S. citizenship or residency status, and the balances and transactions of their financial accounts. This information helps identify accounts that fall under FATCA's reporting requirements, ensuring compliance with U.S. tax laws.

Q4. How does FATCA affect NRIs' foreign bank accounts?

FATCA affects NRIs' foreign bank accounts by requiring them to report to the IRS if they meet the reporting criteria. Financial institutions must either report information on accounts held by U.S. persons or withhold a portion of the payments made to accounts that fail to comply with FATCA, directly impacting how NRIs manage their foreign bank accounts.

Q5. What are the consequences of non-compliance with FATCA for NRIs?

Non-compliance with FATCA can result in significant penalties for NRIs, including fines and the possibility of criminal charges. Financial institutions may also withhold a portion of the payments made to non-compliant accounts. NRIs risk losing access to their financial accounts if they fail to provide the required information.

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