FACTS about FATCA in Trinidad and Tobago for Individuals and Companies: Must Read

“Uncle Sam wants to ensure that he collects his taxes wherever his nieces and nephews reside”. I overheard one of my bankers explaining this reasoning to another client  in response to a  query about the FATCA questionnaire. In accordance with one of our favorite superheroes in the Book of great Parables and Fables, we must render unto Caesar the taxes that are due unto him[1]. This explanation resonated with me and I want to present you herein with some facts about FATCA .

What is FATCA?

FATCA is an acronym for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and it was introduced by the United States Government in 2009 to ensure that U.S. persons with financial assets outside of the United States are paying U.S taxes.

What is the rationale behind introducing FATCA legislation?

The main objective is to obtain information on U.S. persons who may have financial assets outside of the U.S, or those U.S. persons who may be investing and earning income through financial institutions outside the United States.

Who is affected by FATCA?

U.S. citizens or U.S. registered businesses such as limited liability companies, trusts, partnerships, estates;

US individual residents, including US Green Cardholders;

US individuals who own certain foreign financial accounts or other offshore assets;

Local businesses/companies that have U.S. ownership;

FFIs- any non U.S. financial institution (an institution that accepts deposits, invests, trades securities).

What are financial Institutions required to do with respect to FATCA?

Undertake certain identification and due diligence procedures involving new customers desirous of opening new accounts;

Report annually to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information on customers who are U.S persons or foreign entities with substantial U.S. ownership;

Close accounts of certain customers who do not wish to cooperate with the new FATCA requirements including:

(a) Non-participating financial institutions or ;

(b) Customers who fail to provide sufficient information to determine whether or not they are a U.S. person.

Who is a U.S. person for the purposes of FATCA?

A citizen or resident of the United States, including a green card holder;

A partnership, corporation, estate, trust incorporated or created under US law (US incorporated entity);

A non U.S. incorporated entity having substantial ownership held by –an individual who was born in the US or is a US citizen/resident (including a green card holder) or has a US address or a US mailing address;

A U.S. incorporated entity.

How would I know if I am a U.S. Person under FATCA?

The following are captured in this definition:

U.S. resident or citizen including US Green Card holders;

U.S. Place of Birth;

U.S. home or mailing address;

Only address is a U.S. PO Box, C/O mail address

Power of attorney or signing authority having U.S. address

A U.S. telephone number;

Standing order to transfer funds to an account in the U.S.

What are the FATCA forms?

There are various FATCA forms that are to be completed by the Applicant:

U.S. Person Status Form (Individuals only);

Non US Person Declaration;

Non US Person /Letter of Explanation of US Address;

Waiver of Confidentiality/Data Protection for US Person.

The Internal Revenue Service forms are:-

Form W9;

Form W-BEN;

Form W-8BEN-E.

Different documents are required for   individuals and for companies. There are various classification for business and companies for the IRS forms.

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

[1] The King James Version: Mathew Chapter 22 Verse 21

About the Author:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .

 

 

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Will you prepare a WILL?

A farmer told me that the best of the crop should be kept for your children, the remainder should be offered for sale. He said it takes the average man 10 years to learn this lesson. He lamented that many men are not concerned with the well-being of their seeds once planted. These seeds do not receive water from their planter during the lifetime of the latter. It cannot reasonably be expected that the seeds will receive fertilizer following the planter’s death. For those farmers who are concerned with the future of the spouse and children, please read the following and take action forthwith.

While the realization of the need to prepare a Will is unpleasant, it is a necessary task because you are actively planning to provide for your family after your exit from this lifetime. Creating your Will is the first step in a two-step process. The second step is safely storing your Will. It is prudent to ensure that the Testator (person who creates the Will) has title to all the assets that the Testator purports to distribute.

 

What Is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that contains your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children after your demise. There are certain formalities that must be followed to ensure that the Will is valid and enforceable and ultimately that your wishes are carried out.

 

What can I do in a will?

Most people use a will to leave instructions about what should happen to their property after they die. However, you can also use a will to:

  • Name an executor;
  • Name guardians for children and their property;
  • Decide how debts and taxes will be paid;
  • Provide for pets;
  • Serve as a backup to a living trust.

 

 

Why Do I Need to Create a Will?

Creating a Will gives you;

  • Sole discretion over the distribution of your assets;
  • The power to decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed;
  • The power to direct the distribution of your financial investments;
  • The ability to provide for the care of minor children;
  • The opportunity to minimize tensions among survivors;
  • Avoid relatives battling over your possessions
  • The power to direct your assets to the charity of your choice.
  • To leave your assets to an institution or an organization, a Will can see that your wishes are carried out.

 

How Do I Get a Will?

When you are ready to prepare a will, compile a list of your assets and debts. Be sure to include the contents of safe deposit boxes, items of sentimental value, family heirlooms and other assets that you wish to transfer to a particular person or entity. If your estate is substantial (ranging in the millions of dollars) or your situation is legally complex, you may wish to enlist the services of an attorney at law.

 

 

While you can create a Will for yourself, there are certain formalities set out by the law.

Under section 42 of the Wills and Probate Act Chap. 9:03 of the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a Will must be made in writing, signed at the end of the document by the person making the Will, A testator must be 21 years or over. The Will must be witnessed by two persons who will also sign at the foot of the Will and in the presence of each other at the same time and in the presence of the testator. Each person signing the Will must have the mental capacity’ to sign the Will. An intended beneficiary must not be used as a witness to attest to the Will.

 

Can I Change My Will after it is created?

Changing your will is easy:

  • Simply write a new will to replace the old one or;
  • Make an addition using an amendment known as a codicil.

 

 

Who should I name as my executor?

You can name your spouse, mature offspring, or another trusted friend or relative as your executor. If your affairs are complicated, it may be prudent to name an attorney at law or someone with legal and financial expertise. You can also name joint executors, such as your spouse or partner and your attorney.

 

One of the most important things your Will can do is empower your executor to pay your bills and deal with debt collectors. Make sure the wording of your will allows for this, and also gives your executor leeway to take care of any related issues that aren’t specifically outlined in your will.

 

Where should I keep my will?

  • The Probate Registry at the Probate Court- usually requires your original Will before it can process your estate, so it is important to keep the document safe yet accessible.
  • A bank safe deposit box that only you can get into, your family might need to seek a court order to gain access. A waterproof and fireproof safe in your house is a good alternative.
  • Your attorney at law or someone you trust should keep signed copies in case the original is destroyed. Signed copies can be used to establish your intentions. However, the absence of an original will can complicate matters, and without it there is s no guarantee that your estate will be settled as you’d hoped.

 

How often does a will need to be updated?

You can update your Will as often as you wish. The only version of your will that matters is the most current valid one in existence at the time of your death. A rule of thumb: Review your will every two or three years to be safe.

 

How can a Will be revoked?

A Will can be revoked by a valid marriage as well as the signing and witnessing of a new Will.

 What happens after death?
The Will is probated. Probate is a process whereby the validity of a Will is determined.

 

What happens when the deceased left no will behind (Letters of Administration)

If you do not have a Will, you die intestate. In such a case, the State will oversee the distribution of your assets.

 

Attention to all farmers: Unless you want the Estate Owner to dictate your affairs and distribute your crops after your death, get your farm in order.

 

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law by profession in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Kindly explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .

 

All about Annual Returns in Trinidad and Tobago: Do not incur a penalty each month for failing to file this document

Congratulations on registering your limited liability company. Please be gently reminded that there a few post-registration considerations such as tax compliance, AML/CFT/FIU compliance for listed businesses and the filing of annual returns with the Companies Registrar every year.

Importance of an Annual Return

An Annual Return is critical to a company since this document presents a correct, updated reflection of the company’s state of affairs. This documents presents an up to date snapshot of all directors and officers of the company, share capital as well as company debts. Once this document is filed at the Companies Registry, this information will be registered with the Registrar. When conducting company business, banks and other stakeholders will request the most recent Annual Returns. From this document all present company officers and company debts can be discerned.

When should a Company file an Annual Return?

The law states that a company should file an Annual Return no later than 30 days after each anniversary date of its continuance, incorporation or amalgamation at the Companies Registrar.

What happens if a company fails or refuses to file an Annual Return?

Where a Company fails or refuses to file a document with the Registrar within the time specified in the Act, the Registrar shall be entitled to collect from that Company a penalty of one hundred dollars ($300.00) for every month or part thereof.

The Companies Act of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago requires companies to file an Annual Return every year even if the company has not been trading. In accordance with Section 194 (1) of the Companies Act of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, each company must file an Annual Return no later than thirty (30) days after each anniversary date of incorporation in the applicable form. At any point, the officers of the company can change directors, corporate secretaries, issue shares or acquire loans and these changes must be captured in the Registrar’s records of the company.

The following must be updated in the Annual Returns:

(a)Name of the Company

(b)The Registered Office of Company

(c) The Anniversary date of the Company

(d) Share Capital

(e)Authorized Share Capital

(f) Details of the persons holdings shares in the company

(g) The Total amount of indebtedness of the company (loans, mortgages, charges)

(h) Updated details of all directors of the company

(i) Updated details of corporate secretaries

(j) Signature of the corporate secretary or the director

 

 

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law by profession in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Kindly explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .

 

 

 

 

How to register a business as a sole trader in Trinidad and Tobago

There are  two steps in registering a business as a sole trader in Trinidad and Tobago namely:

  1. Application for Name Approval/Name Reservation and;
  2. Preparing and filing the Application for Registration by an Individual.

The Name Approval / Name Reservation includes the applicant’s name, address, contact information, the proposed name of the business and the nature of the business. The applicant signs the bottom of the form, however an incorporator, accountant or attorney at law can sign for and on behalf of the applicant only with respect to the Application for Name Approval. The relevant fees are paid to the cashier and the receipt is stamped with the date of return for the applicant. This is usually five to seven working days. If the Registrar has an issue with the proposed name, a query will be placed on the application. When the applicant returns to collect the name search results, the query must be satisfied in writing. In the event that there are no queries, the applicant will collect the name approval and proceed the next step.

  1. Preparing and filing the Application for Registration by an Individual.

At this juncture, the application for Registration by an Individual must be completed and submitted together with the name approval that was previously collected.  Details such as the business name, principal place of business, nature of the business, full name of the applicant must be included in this form. Only the applicant can sign this form and a copy of photo identification must also be submitted with the application to verify the signature of the applicant. The relevant fees are paid and the cashier issues a receipt with the stamped date for the applicant to return, usually five to seven working days. Once this application is approved, the certificate will be produced and ready for collection by the applicant.

 

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law by profession in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Kindly explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .

 

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