Country Rankings - Serbia
Aug 28, 2014 Serbia: questions FATCAIt seems to have taken an awfully long time, but at last some international opposition to FATCA has emerged. Just how seriously the US Government will take Serbia's doubts about the legality of this insidious law is another matter. One suspects not very much at all, if it even registers on the scale on H Street. I should clarify that it is not the Serbian Government as such which has raised concerns about FATCA's extraterritoriality, but the country's Information Commissioner, Rodoljub Sabic. The Commissioner's English language press release isn't easy to follow, but the gist of it is this: banks must obtain clients' consent before sending their private financial information to the US tax authorities; banks would break the law if they subsequently declined to offer services to clients refusing such consent; FATCA can only be enforced in Serbia via an official treaty with the US ratified by the Serbian legislature; and FATCA breaches Serbia's own data protection laws, as well as the EU Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. Serbia hasn't signed a FATCA IGA yet, but it is treated by the US Treasury as having reached an agreement in substance on June 30 this year. So presumably that will be that, and the Information Commissioner can sound off as much as he wants. But mighty oaks from little acorns grow. And it follows news that the Canadian Government is being taken to court by long-term residents of US birth who have found themselves entwined in America's tax web. The two plaintiffs have not lived in the US since early childhood, and they never obtained a US passport or developed meaningful ties with the US. One of them asked why she is being treated as a potential US tax evader merely because of her place of birth, stating: "This was not the Canada our brave Fathers of Confederation envisioned. FATCA destroys our unity and we cannot permit the loss of our sovereignty." Enough said!