Frequently Asked Questions

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was signed into U.S. law in March 2010. Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA require financial institutions in Canada to report annually on “reportable accounts.” This reporting is made available to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service through the Canada Revenue Agency.

“Reportable accounts” are personal and non-personal accounts held by:

  • one or more U.S. persons; or
  • certain non-U.S. entities in which one or more U.S. persons hold a substantial ownership or controlling interest.

Many additional limitations apply, further reducing the number of accounts that qualify as “reportable, and we have found that Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA have no impact on the vast majority of our clients.

Note: If you need help in determining if you are a U.S. person or how Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA affect your accounts, we suggest that you speak with a professional tax advisor.

That will depend on whether your accounts are determined to be “reportable.” We have found that Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA have no impact on the vast majority of our clients. 

Canadian tax regulations require the Bank to obtain a self-certification from every new customer, as well as customers whose circumstances may have changed.  

If you fail to provide a completed self-certification, in accordance with Canadian tax regulations, the Bank may not be able to open an account for you. 

Personal Accounts

We ask all new personal clients (individuals) to complete a self-certification to determine your U.S. tax status.  We will then review the information you provide to determine whether or not your accounts are reportable

Non-personal Accounts

We ask all business clients (non-personal) to self-certify as to their tax residencies, and the tax jurisdictions of their controlling persons for certain investment and trust entities.  A review of the information you provide will determine whether the entity’s accounts are reportable.

Tax law is a highly specialized field. While we can provide general information on Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA, we are strictly prohibited from providing tax advice. If you want advice on how to respond to questions and requests related to these laws, we suggest that you speak with a professional tax advisor.

If you want help in determining if you are a U.S. person for the purposes of Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA, we suggest that you speak with a professional tax advisor.

Attributes that generally cause an individual or business to be classified as a U.S. person include:

  • U.S. citizenship;
  • being a lawful resident of the U.S.; and/or
  • qualifying as a U.S. corporation, estate, or trust.

The IRS provides information on the rules applicable to non-U.S. citizens here.

If you are a U.S. person, we are  required to ask you to complete a self-certification form  for our records.

We will also be required to provide annual reports on your account to the Canada Revenue Agency, who will forward them to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. This should have no impact if you are already meeting your existing U.S. tax filing obligations, but we encourage you to review this with a professional tax advisor.

Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA came into effect in stages, beginning on July 1, 2014. On that day, financial institutions began to:

  • Use new account opening procedures that ensure the account holder’s U.S. tax status is determined when the account is opened.
  • Review existing accounts to identify those that were subject to reporting

Canadian financial institutions are required by Canadian law to comply.

Globally, large financial institutions are complying.

No, this was not altogether new. Reporting of account activities to Canadian tax authorities has long been legally required at some level. As well, reporting regarding certain financial transactions has been required under the provisions and safeguards of the Canada-U.S. Tax Convention for years. The Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA simply built on these existing financial reporting structures by adding new types of data to the list of what must be reported.

Scotiabank has a policy of strict adherence to privacy legislation and protection of client data. Our response to Canadian tax regulations related to FATCA are held to our standard of strict compliance with Canadian privacy laws.

If you choose not to complete a self-certification to determine your U.S. tax status, the Bank may not be able to open an account for you.   In addition, failure to provide a completed self-certification may result in regulatory fines imposed by the Canada Revenue Agency directly to you.

FATCA includes deposit, investment (e.g., GICs), custodial (e.g., brokerage) accounts, as well as other financial accounts that have cash value (e.g., certain insurance contracts) or provide the customer with income payments.

No, in and of itself, the currency of an account has no impact on whether it is treated as a “reportable account.”

If at least one of the joint owners qualifies as a U.S. person, any required reporting will treat the U.S. person as the owner of the entire account.

If more than one of the joint owners are U.S. persons, any required reporting will treat each U.S. person as the owner of the entire account.

Each of Scotiabank’s business lines will need to obtain appropriate documentation. Despite our best efforts to streamline this process, you may be contacted by more than one business line regarding this documentation. We apologize for any resulting inconvenience, and we greatly appreciate your patience.

You can find information on the Canada-U.S. intergovernmental agreement at these websites:

As well, you can find detailed information on FATCA at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.