The Tax Information Exchange (United States of America) Bill, 2016, also known as the FATCA (Foreign Account Taxpayer Compliance) Bill was passed last night in the Senate without a dissenting vote.
The vote was 29 in favour, none against and 1 abstention.
This follows the unanimous passage of the bill in the House of Representatives on February 23rd 2017, where all 39 MPs who were present on that day, voted in favour of the amended bill.
The Minister of Finance said in a statement that it wishes to thank all those who contributed to the passage of the bill, including all members of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament, established to examine the bill, and all stakeholders, interest groups, individuals and organisations who participated in the Committee’s deliberations and commented in general on the legislation.
It says that special mention must be made of the efforts of "the hard-working public servants in the Parliament, the Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Finance, who worked tirelessly to provide the required information and to draft the various amendments to the bill that arose during the progression of the bill through the Parliament and in the JSC meetings.
The Ministry said that with the passage of this bill, the country can now breathe a little easier because "we have avoided the adverse consequences of loss of correspondent banking, imposition of withholding taxes, derisking and de-banking that would have occurred had consensus not been reached on the legislation".
The Ministry of Finance says it will now work with the Board of Inland Revenue and the Central Bank and all other stakeholders to ensure that all necessary systems are in place in our banking and financial system to meet the reporting deadline to the US Treasury of September 30th 2017.
It says a post-enactment communications plan has also been developed by the Ministry of Finance, to ensure that the general public is aware of the requirements of FATCA and its implications for citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.