March 13, 2015 - News about the firm

Mannheimer Swartling hosts seminar on FATCA Agreement

On March 5 Mannheimer Swartling hosted a seminar on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Agreement arranged by the Institute for Taxes and the Rule of Law (“Institutet Skatter & Rättssäkerhet”) together with the Swedish Bankers’ Association and the Swedish Bar Association. The seminar addressed the FATCA Agreement and the Swedish Government’s legislative proposal in connection with the agreement and relevant issues regarding, among other things, rule of law and privacy.

Peter Nordquist, attorney and former partner at Mannheimer Swartling, headed the seminar. Seminar participants included:

  • Josefin Lindstrand, Head of Compliance Services, CorpNordic
  • Ulrika Hansson, Senior Legal Adviser, Swedish Bankers’ Association
  • Elisabeth Wallin, counsel and international co-ordinator, the Swedish Data Inspection Board
  • Anne Ramberg, Secretary-General, Swedish Bar Association

Background

On August 14, 2014 Sweden signed the FATCA Agreement with the United States. FATCA is based on US law and aims to make it easier to find and tax those who are taxable in the United States. According to the agreement, Swedish financial institutions are required to share information with the Swedish Tax Authority, which will forward information to the United States.

In December 2014 the government submitted a proposal to the Riksdag (prop. 2014/15:41) with a bill to incorporate the agreement into Swedish law. According to the agreement, the law will come into effect on 1 April 2015.

The proposal is controversial and referral organisations such as the Council on Legislation expressed strong criticism regarding the complexity of the issues involved. Strong rule of law aspects come to the fore. However, these have given way because the FATCA Agreement is a binding agreement with the United States.

The agreement has already given rise to a variety of issues, including how much information Swedish banks and financial institutions are required to report under FATCA. However, these issues are also of concern to law firms, accounting firms and others who handle financial assets. Other questions include the role of the Swedish Tax Authority and which authority should monitor the compliance with this Agreement. Even some privacy issues under the Data Inspection Board’s areas of responsibility arise because the reporting requirement means that a large amount of personal data will be transferred to the US for further handling.

For more information, please contact Martin Nilsson, head of Mannheimer Swartling’s Corporate Taxation practice group, martin.nilsson@msa.se.