On Wednesday, the Holy See and the United States signed a joint agreement to promote the prevention of tax evasion at the international level. In the first accord of its kind between the U.S. and the Holy See, the two States agreed to share tax information per the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). One high-ranking Vatican official said that with the agreement, the friendships and cooperation between the two has reached “an even higher level.” “Signing the present agreement is thus a further step in the Holy See’s long-term strategy to ensure and promote legality, transparency and ethical behavior in the economic and financial fields,” said the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. According to a June 10 joint press release, the archbishop spoke of the Holy See's commitment over the past five years to promote “transparency and legality in the financial sector,” all the while keeping man's economic and social life in sight. The prelate made these remarks to U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth F. Hackett, with whom he signed the agreement on Wednesday. The aim of the measure is to improve international tax compliance and the exchange of tax information between the Holy See and the U.S. “Every person has in fact the duty to contribute, in charity and justice, to the common good, according to his own abilities and the needs of others, by promoting and assisting the public institutions dedicated to bettering the conditions of human life,” said Archbishop Gallagher. As part of the agreement, the Holy See will be required to report the fiscal activities of American citizens who have Vatican bank accounts to the U.S. Treasury. FATCA is a 2010 U.S. Federal law which requires American citizens living abroad to report their assets yearly to the U.S. Treasury department. “We welcome the Holy See’s commitment to intensifying our cooperation to promote global financial transparency through improving international tax compliance,” said Ambassador Hackett at the signing ceremony. The. U.S. is the 63rd country to enter into such an agreement with the Holy See. The agreement comes amid widespread curial reforms being pushed forward by Pope Francis. In 2014, the pontiff called for the establishment of the Secretariat for the Economy, a dicastery which oversees financial activities throughout the Vatican and the Holy See.
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