MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - A number of Russian banks have received fake US tax service requests, demanding the disclosure of information about their American clients and their accounts in accordance with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Kommersant newspaper reported Thursday.
The newspaper obtained a letter allegedly sent to one of the banks by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), though with a slightly modified logo. The recipient’s details were blurred out, however, but judging from the template, the mail had been sent directly, specifying the bank’s Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) – a unique number assigned by the IRS, Kommersant reported.
The letter demands the bank to provide as soon as possible the financial records of the bank’s US clients whose account balances exceeded $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for companies.
The letter also requested documents that could illustrate the account holder’s field of activities, payments and personality. The letter included a modified FATCA form. As opposed to the original one, it requires one to fill in the name of the client’s personal manager, his phone number, fax and email address. In addition, there is no link to the IRS website, which would allow the verification of the document’s authenticity, Kommersant reported.
“The basic sign of its fictitious nature is that the IRS will demand any reporting from banks starting January 1, 2015, and even then it could not request, for instance, account transactions,” Dmitry Chistov, risk and compliance director at KPMG, told Kommersant.
FATCA is a US law adopted in 2010 requiring its citizens to inform the IRS of their foreign accounts and for foreign banks to file the information on the accounts of their US clients to the US tax service.