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FICA – The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 38 of 2001

FATCA – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act


What is FICA?

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 38 of 2001 (FICA), came into effect on 1 July 2003. FICA was introduced to fight financial crime, such as money laundering , tax evasion, and terrorist financing activities. FICA brings South Africa in line with similar legislation in other countries designed to reveal the movement of moneys derived from unlawful activities, and thereby curbing money laundering and other criminal activities.
FICA aims to ensure that financial institutions know with whom they are doing business. In terms of FICA, financial institutions are required to preserve the paper trails of all transactions and are obliged to report any possible money laundering to the investigation authorities.

What documents do I need to submit for FICA purposes?

Firstly, note that the required documents differ for individuals, minors, non-RSA residents, estates late, Trusts, Companies, Close Corporations, Partnerships and Unincorporated entities, for example, churches and clubs.
For you to enjoy the protection that comes with FICA, it is important to ensure that you are FICA compliant. This simply means that you need to take the following documents to your nearest bank branch.

In general, you will need the following documents to ensure FICA compliance:

  1. A copy of your ID document, if you are a RSA resident, or a copy of your Passport if you are a non-RSA-resident;
  2. Proof of Residential Address, less than three months old, for example, your utility bill of Municipal account. Should you not have proof of Residential Address in your name, you may provide a declaration by a third party confirming that you share a residential address with them, and provide the third party’s proof of ID and proof of residential address, less than three months old;
  3.  Copy of your SARS document confirming your Income Tax number; and
  4. A copy of your bank document confirming your individual banking details, less than three months old.

What are the consequences of not being FICA comoliant?

For Individuals:

When you do not comply with FICA regulations, you stand the risk of exposing yourself to criminals who could potentially use your account to commit fraud. Should any criminal activity take place on your account, you could be locked out of your own account, meaning you would have no access to your money. To resolve this, you need to take any relevant outstanding documents to your nearest bank branch.

I have submitted my FICA documents before. why does my Financial Institute require me to do this again?

Because FICA, its regulations and its guidance notes are continuously under review, requirements change from time to time. Financial Institutions are obligated to comply with legislation, regulations and any changes thereof and thus may require additional documentation from you in order to maintain your FICA compliance.

I have several accounts with my Financial Institution, do I need to go through this process for every account?

No. you only need to go through this process once for all your personal accounts.

Business accounts are treated separately, though. You would need to submit documentation for the business account separately from your personal account, and the specific requirements will depend on how your entity has been registered.

If you want to find out whether you are FICA compliant, you need to visit your nearest bank branch.



What is FATCA?

FATCA is the acronym for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which is an American law passed in March 2010. FATCA requires reporting of specified United States (US) persons or entities controlled by specified US persons by certain foreign Financial Institutions and possible withholding of Tax on US source income.

Its main aim is to identify US persons who may be using offshore accounts to avoid US taxation on their income and assets.

The South African Government has signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agreeing to exchange information provided by Financial Institutions in South Africa. These Financial Institutions include South African Banks, Brokers, Asset Managers, Private Equity Funds, Long-term Insurers and other participants in the financial system.

Who will be impacted by FATCA?

FATCA will impact individual clients in affected products who may be identified as a specified US person for US Tax purposes. The legislation will also impact certain types of businesses, trusts or legal entities that are incorporated in the US or have spesified US owners who are regarded as controlling persons.

South African Financial Institutions under the IGA:

A South Africa Financial Institution will be a Financial Institution under the IGA if it falls within any one or more of the following categories:

  1. Depository institutions, for example, Banks;
  2. Custodial institutions, for example, Mutual funds;
  3. Investment entities, for example, Private Equity Funds;
  4. Certain types of Insurance companies that have cash value products or annuities.

What information will be reported to the Revenue Authorities?
In terms of the IGA, signed between the IRS and the South African Gorvernment, the following information are required to be reported on with respect to all US accounts:

  1. The name and address of each of the account holders;
  2. A Tax Identification Number (TIN) for each account holder that is a US person;
  3. An account number;
  4. The name and identifying number of the reporting financial institution;
  5. An account balance or value from 2015;
  6. Income flows and account balance from 2016;
  7. Gross proceeds on disposal, income flows and account balance from 2017;
  8. All payments made to non-participating financial institutions, and
  9. Payments made to accounts which are undocumented

For more information, you can visit the SARS website at httpss://

In conclusion:

Always ensure that your Bank and/or Financial Institution are in possession of your updated contact details and information. FICA does not only help curb illegal activities, but also helps to keep the money of South African citizens safe.

If you have any further questions in this regard, please feel free to contact our offices.

Our offices are located at: 22 Scheide Street, Jeffreys Bay, 6330

Contact us at (042) 293-3333 or