The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the opening of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) registration system on August 19, 2013. The registration system will enable financial institutions (FIs) to register and obtain a global intermediary identification number (GIIN). FIs are requested to submit the required information online as final on or after January 1, 2014 – no GIINs will be issued before this date. Between now and December 31, 2013, FIs are permitted to establish their online account, input preliminary information, refine such information, and become familiar with the system thereby resulting in a user testing period.
The IRS release included:
- A 75-page User Guide and Overview which provides instructions for completing the online registration process including step-by-step instructions for each question and the registration information required for each type of FI as well as information on how to edit and delete a registration.
- Tips for Logging into the FATCA Registration System which provides helpful hints for accessing the system.
- A GIIN Composition document which explains the components of the 19-character GIIN.
The IRS also released the final Form 8957 (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Registration), including instructions. This form is substantially similar to the draft dated April 17, 2013 which did not have instructions. The IRS is strongly encouraging the use of the online registration system in lieu of paper registration requests on Form 8957, but will accept registrations made on this form beginning January 1, 2014. The IRS notes that registrations using Form 8957 will experience slower processing times than online registration. Consequently, FIs registering by paper will wait longer for a GIIN.