U.S. Citizen Living in Saudi Arabia Lacked Standing to Challenge FATCA (Alsheikh v. Lew, DC Calif.)

CCH Tax Day Report

A U.S. citizen’s claim that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) violated the Constitution was dismissed for lack of standing. The individual argued that FATCA violated the Fourth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution because requiring foreign institutions to provide financial information to the government constitutes an unlawful search and violates due process and equal protection rights. However, the individual’s complaint failed to allege standing because there was no allegation that any financial institution had been required to provide any of his financial information to the U.S. government. In fact, the individual failed to provide any factual information regarding his bank accounts, including that his accounts were subject to reporting because the account balances exceeded $50,000. Additionally, the complaint did not sufficiently allege that harm was imminent, as opposed to conjectural or hypothetical. While the individual’s country of residence (Saudi Arabia) had reached an agreement in substance to an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to enforce FATCA, the IGA had not yet been implemented. Therefore, his allegations of harm were hypothetical future harms that did not provide Article III standing.

A.S. Alsheikh v. J. Lew, DC Calif., 2016-2 ustc ¶50,388

Other References:

Code Sec. 1471

CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶32,887.15

Tax Research Consultant

CCH Reference – TRC INTL: 36,050



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