Crowdfunding campaign seeks to challenge FATCA information request

Thursday, 12 September 2019
A US-born British citizen has commenced a crowdfunding campaign to challenge the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), on the basis that HMRC sharing her personal information with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would breach her rights to data protection and privacy.

The citizen, who has lived in the UK for 20 years, works at her local university, has a UK bank account, and pays UK taxes. She says that a letter from her bank came ‘out of the blue,’ telling her that she may have US tax obligations, and that HMRC would therefore be sending personal and financial information about her to the IRS on an annual basis under the rules of FATCA.

She has now launched a crowdfunding page in an attempt to bring a claim against HMRC on the basis that sending her information to the IRS infringes a number of principles under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) as well as her fundamental rights to privacy under UK law.

She adds that on top of her privacy and data protection concerns, her personal information ‘is irrelevant to the objective of FATCA, which is to collect tax from those evading it,’ pointing out that she is not liable for tax under FATCA as she earns less than the USD104,000 income tax exemption for Americans living abroad.

Further, she says that she supports FATCA’s objective on cracking down on tax evasion, but it is taking ‘disproportionate’ measures to achieve this.

Law firm Mishcon de Reya has now taken her on as a client. Commenting on the launch of her campaign, Partner Filippo Noseda TEP, said: ‘This is the first time that FATCA has been challenged on the basis that its implementation in the EU breaches the GDPR and individuals' fundamental rights enshrined in EU and UK legislation. The implementation of FATCA in the UK was rushed through against the advice of the European data protection authorities and even concerns raised by the European Commission.’

It is not the first time FATCA has come under scrutiny by non-residents: the French Association of Accidental Americans lost an appeal against the reporting requirements, but plans to file a formal complaint with the European Commission in October.


The content displayed here is subject to our disclaimer. Read more