Saturday, January 18, 2014

DC Court Rejects Bankers Attack on FATCA Regs (1/18/14)

In Fla. Bankers Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Treasury, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3521 (D.D.C. 2014), here, the court sustained the IRS regulations "the regulations requir[ing] U.S. banks to report the amount of interest earned by accountholders residing in foreign countries."

The Court says in its opening:
The Bankers Associations contend, in a Motion for Summary Judgment, that the IRS got the economics of its decision wrong and that the requirements will cause far more harm to banks than anticipated. Because the Service reasonably concluded that the regulations will improve U.S tax compliance, deter foreign and domestic tax evasion, impose a minimal reporting burden on banks, and not cause any rational actor — other than a tax evader — to withdraw his funds from U.S. accounts, the Court upholds the regulations and grants the Government's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
In reaching this decision, the Court rejected various challenges to the regulations based on the Administrative Procedure Act, often referred to as APA, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  Interestingly, the Court did reject the Government's threshold argument that the suit was barred by the Anti-Injunction Act, Section 7421(a), concluding:
Although the Court owes some deference to the Government's opinion of whether or not the AIA applies, see Seven-Sky v. Holder, 661 F.3d 1, 13 (D.C. Cir. 2011), abrogated on other grounds by Nat'l Fed'n of Indep. Bus., 132 S. Ct. 2566, it must nevertheless heed the D.C. Circuit's admonition that the AIA does not bar suits like this one brought merely for "purpose of enjoining a regulatory command." Id. at 8. Indeed, the AIA "has never been applied to bar suits brought to enjoin regulatory requirements that bear no relation to tax revenues or enforcement," even if a tax-related penalty could follow. Id. at 9. And the regulations at issue here, like the Foodservice reporting requirement, fit that bill. As the DJA and AIA are coterminous, neither Act prevents the Bank Associations' suit.

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