Law on FATCA agreements adopted and published

On 9 January 2017, the bill of 22 December 2016 on the approval of the FATCA agreement of 23 April 2014 and the supplementary agreement of 29 and 30 September 2015 on the implementation of the FATCA agreement was published in the Belgian State Gazette.

Although these agreements are currently applied and information is being exchanged on the basis of the FATCA agreement and national exchange of information compliance rules, the Council of State was of the opinion that the agreements go beyond being a mere administrative agreement. The Council of State recommended to have the agreements approved by the parliament.

In order to avoid any discussion on the legality of the actions based on the agreements and thus also the legality of the exchanged information, the federal government decided to follow the recommendation of the Council of State.

However, the bill does not contain an entry into force provision. Consequently, the bill enters into force on 19 January 2017.

Undoubtedly, the retro-active effect of the bill (financial information of 2014 has been collected and probably already been exchanged) will, as repeatedly underlined by the Council of State, lead to discussions. The fact that the preparatory works do not mention any extra-ordinary circumstances or compelling reasons for such a retro-active effect is in that respect an argument against the retro-active effect of the agreements.

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