Cambodia Investment Review

US Tax Compliance Tightens for American Expatriates in Cambodia Amid FATCA Enforcement

US Tax Compliance Tightens for American Expatriates in Cambodia Amid FATCA Enforcement

Vijian Paramasivam

The enforcement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has taken a significant step forward, with the United States and Cambodia enhancing their cooperation to ensure American expatriates are adhering to their tax obligations. This collaboration has streamlined the process of information sharing, making it increasingly challenging for Americans living abroad to bypass US tax laws. Experts are sending a clear message to American citizens residing in Cambodia: compliance with both US and Cambodian tax laws is non-negotiable, and failing to do so could lead to substantial penalties or legal repercussions.

“In today’s global economy, the IRS is extending its reach to ensure that all American citizens, regardless of their place of residence, are fulfilling their tax duties,” stated tax experts. They underscored the importance of Americans living in Cambodia to diligently file their annual tax returns with the IRS to avoid potential issues that could affect their passport renewals or result in severe financial penalties.

US To Clamp Down On Offshore Tax Evasion

FATCA, implemented by the US Congress in 2010, aims to clamp down on offshore tax evasion by requiring foreign financial institutions to report the account details of American clients. This legislation affects Cambodia, a key trading ally of the US, which houses a significant American population. Under FATCA, Cambodian financial entities, including banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies, and securities firms, are mandated to report the financial activities of American account holders to the US authorities.

Read More: Cambodia’s Tax Threshold Changes Designed To Ease Burden Caused By External Factors For Businesses, Individuals

“The FATCA agreement between the US and Cambodia signifies a pivotal step in our mutual efforts to enhance transparency and combat tax evasion,” remarked Casey Barnett, President of CamEd Business School and Treasurer of AmCham Cambodia, during an AmCham-organized briefing on IRS Tax Filing and FATCA Obligations for US Citizens Living Abroad. Barnett highlighted the broader trend of OECD countries participating in data sharing, making it virtually impossible for individuals with US passports to conceal their financial accounts from the IRS.

AmCham Cambodia hosted “IRS tax filing and FATCA obligations for U.S. citizens living abroad” at TRIBE Phnom Penh Post Office Square on 14 March 2024,

Thomas Carden, International Tax Director at American International Tax Advisers, elaborated on the impact of FATCA on the international banking sector. “FATCA has been the nuclear bomb in the realm of international finance, compelling all financial institutions globally to disclose information about US account holders or face a 30 percent withholding tax on wire transfers. The era of hidden wealth is over,” Carden asserted. He cautioned American citizens about the severe consequences of non-compliance, including the revocation of passports and hefty fines ranging from $10,000 for non-wilful breaches to greater amounts for wilful violations, potentially reaching $100,000 or 50 percent of the total account balances.

Excluding Up To $120K Of Income Under Certain Conditions

Carden also pointed out the opportunities available to Americans abroad to mitigate their US tax liability, such as excluding up to $120,000 of income under certain conditions and utilizing the foreign tax credit to offset US taxes with taxes paid in foreign countries. These provisions underscore the complexity of tax laws affecting expatriates and the necessity of seeking professional advice to navigate these regulations effectively.

The reinforced focus on tax compliance for American expatriates in Cambodia through the implementation of FATCA underscores the US government’s determination to pursue tax obligations globally. The joint efforts of US and Cambodian tax authorities highlight the expansive reach of US tax laws and the critical importance of compliance to avoid significant legal and financial consequences.

Related Articles