US & Vatican Enter FATCA Agreement

When the Holy See joins your side, you know you that there's higher powers at work. On June 10th, it was announced that the Vatican City and the United States had finalized their intergovernmental agreement (read: tax treaty). The deal is official — the Vatican bank will now report information about their US account holders to the IRS, aiding in the enforcement of FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which is ironically the manifestation of evil for many international businesses and investors).


The bank called the Institute for Works of Religion (Istituto per le Opere di Religione), “has been dogged for years by accusations that it has helped launder money for rich Italians, among others, who were seeking to evade taxes and carry out other illicit activity.” Signing the agreement fits with Pope Francis’s financial reforms for the Vatican, and this particular treaty adds some serious emphasis to his statement that those evading taxes are stealing from the poor.


"We're on a mission from God."


The Vatican's partnership with the United States government (leading the 100-acre country to provide information regarding U.S.-owned foreign accounts) illustrates how entrenched, ubiquitous, and long-lasting FATCA has become. Even the Pope is down with FATCA — no wonder the U.S. government announced this deal with such fanfare (really, how often does a tax treaty make headlines?). Over one hundred foreign jurisdictions have agreed to enforce FATCA, with over sixty of those already having signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). Here is the one for the Holy See.


Mark 12:17 says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” With this newly minted agreement, the Vatican apparently believes the private financial information of many, many people counts as “things that are Caesar’s.”