updated 2:15 PM CET, Dec 1, 2021

How well do you know your FATCA?

Answers to the AXFNJ's eleven FATCA quiz questions

  1. New York Senator Charles Rangel (then House Ways and Means Committee chairman) and Montana Senator Max Baucus (then Senate Finance Committee chairman) 

  2. China, Haita, Peru, Parguay and Niguraga, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. The status of Russia and Monaco, among others, is unclear

  3.  Form 8938 ("Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets"


  4. The short answer is that the threshold is significantly lower for U.S. resident taxpayers than for those who live abroad; taxpayers who file jointly with their spouse, whether in the U.S. or abroad, also benefit from a higher threshold.

    Someone who lives in the U.S. and who is single or filing separately from their spouse, for example, must submit a Form 8938 if they have more than US$50,000 "of specified foreign financial assets at the end of the year."

    If they are single or filing separately from their spouse and living abroad, however, they would only need to file if they had more than US$200,000 of specified foreign financial assets at the end of the year.

    For those who file jointly with their spouse, these thresholds double.

    Someone is considered to live abroad if they are one of the following: A U.S. citizen who has been a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year; or a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident who is present in a foreign country or countries at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months that ends in the tax year being reported. (The last part of the second definition means that taxpayers cannot use the higher threshold in the year they move abroad unless they moved on Jan. 1 of the year in question.)

  5. Then-Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty  (in a letter, sent to several major U.S. publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, sought to protest at the way the U.S. was ramping up its information reporting obligations, which some Canadian banks and financial institutions had warned Canadian government officials would have potentially "profound" implications for their businesses)

  6. IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig (in a 2016 paper, “Why the Ongoing Problem with FBAR Compliance?”,  written before he became IRS commissioner in 2018)

  7. According to the IRS, failure to file a Form 8938 when one is required can result in a fixed US$10,000 penalty (and the statute of limitations for the IRS to audit the entire return will never expire, we're told). However, as this publication and others have reported, thus far just one person has been found guilty of "conspiring to defraud the United States by failing to comply" with FATCA, in the more than seven years the law has been in force. The case was decided in September, 2018.

  8. As of March 18, 2021 (today), 379,919 FFIs have GIINs

  9.  Answer: c. – "Between 25,000 and 45,000" (38,233, based on U.S. Treasury data published quarterly in the Federal Register)

  10.  Singapore. (To see the announcement, click here; to see the Superseding Model 1 Agreement, click here. (Note: There are FATCA experts who say that in spite of this apparent change, the U.S. is not in fact actually providing Singapore with the U.S. bank account data of U.S.-resident Singaporeans that Singapore banks are obliged, under the agreement, to provide the U.S. with.) 


  11.  Foreign (non-U.S.) retirement accounts are not exempt from the need to be reported by their individual account beneficiaries. For Form 8938 purposes, they are  considered a "specified financial asset." A reporting exemption does apply, however, to the financial institutions that manage American citizens' foreign (non-U.S.) pensions.

 The AXFNJ thanks everyone who helped us come up with these questions, many of whom are expat tax preparing professionals. If you also have an amazing FATCA question that you'd like to share, do send it (along with the correct answer, please!) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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