“FATCA” or Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is a United States (US) law aimed at prevention of tax evasion by US citizens and residents (“US Persons”) through use of offshore accounts.
Pursuant to the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed between the US & Indian Governments on 9th July 2015, FATCA became effective in India (retrospectively) for all new accounts opened from 1st July 2014.
There are different rules for “pre-existing” and new investors as per FATCA provisions –
New investors” are defined as those investors who are new to a financial institution (FI) having opened an account with the FI on or after 1st July 2014.
Further, all such new account holders need to certify their tax status to the financial institutions. In addition as per IGA provisions and as per clause 5.9.6 and 5.9.7 of the Guidance Notes issued by CBDT, in case of accounts other than depositories or cash value accounts, the financial institutions need to make reasonable efforts to obtain self-certification, particularly in those cases where after “US indicia” search, a positive match was found with any of the US indicia.
The IGA signed by India and US has a specific “alternate procedure” to handle all “new investor” accounts opened by a financial institution between 1st July 2014 and date of signing IGA. As per this clause, financial institutions were allowed one year to solicit tax residency self-certification from all investors who opened account in above period, failing which the accounts must be closed.
Thus, if you have opened new account/ folio with any Mutual Fund between 1st July 2014 and 31st August 2015 (i.e., with whom you had not invested prior to 1stJuly 2014), you need to provide a self-certification about your tax residency to the respective Mutual Funds for compliance with FATCA, failing which the account/s may have to be closed, as per current law.