The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 was part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010 (the HIRE Act) passed in 2010.
If you have foreign investors or domestic investors making their investments through offshore entities, you need to pay attention to this law. It requires private funds to collect information on their foreign investors to determine if there are any US investors in the ownership that may not be paying their taxes.
An investor’s failure to meet the regulatory disclosure requirements means that the fund manager will need to withhold 30% from distributions. These withholding obligations will go into effect on January 1, 2013.
The key benchmark is to identify a substantial US owner of an entity. Substantial starts at 10%.
I’m still trying to sort through the regulations to figure out how it will work. I think I can get it to tie into an anti-money laundering program. You should check an investors background. As part of that, you want to peek under the hood of an entity to see the ownership. I have seen people set a de minimis level between 5% and 50%. FATCA would seem to set the level at no less than 10%.
I expect many fund managerS are going to need to reach out to their investors and get more information and certifications from their investors to meet the FATCA standards.