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William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

OECD Global Automatic Information Exchange Framework Released

Posted by William Byrnes on February 14, 2014


On target with its previously announced timelines, February 13 the OECD released the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Common Reporting Standard with an accompanying Press Release and Background Information Brief.  Below are pertinent excerpts of the Press Release, Background Information Brief, and the new global Standard for Automatic Exchange.

Developed by the OECD together with G20 countries, the standard calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and exchange that information automatically with other jurisdictions on an annual basis.  The OECD will formally present the standard for the endorsement of G20 finance ministers during a 22-23 February meeting in Sydney, Australia.  The OECD is expected to deliver a detailed Commentary on the new standard, as well as technical solutions to implement the actual information exchanges, during a meeting of G20 finance ministers in September 2014.

Presenting the new standard, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “This is a real game changer. Globalisation of the world’s financial system has made it increasingly simple for people to make, hold and manage investments outside their country of residence. This new standard on automatic exchange of information will ramp up international tax co-operation, putting governments back on a more even footing as they seek to protect the integrity of their tax systems and fight tax evasion.”

What are the main differences between the standard and FATCA?

The standard consists of a fully reciprocal automatic exchange system from which US specificities have been removed. For instance, it is based on residence and unlike FATCA does not refer to citizenship. Terms, concepts and approaches have been standardised allowing countries to use the system without having to negotiate individual Annexes. Unlike FATCA the standard does not provide for thresholds for pre-existing individual accounts, but it includes a residence address test building on the EU savings directive. It also provides for a simplified indicia search for such accounts. Finally, it has special rules dealing with certain investment entities where they are based in jurisdictions that do not participate in the automatic exchange under the standard.

More than 40 countries have committed to early adoption of the standard. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, hosted by the OECD, brings together 121 jurisdictions worldwide. It has been mandated by the G20 to monitor and review implementation of the standard. 

Single Global Standard for Automatic Exchange

Under the single global standard jurisdictions obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. Part I of this report gives an overview of the standard. Part II contains the text of the Model Competent Authority Agreement (CAA) and the Common Reporting and Due Diligence Standards (CRS) that together make up the standard.

The Report sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions that need to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.

To prevent taxpayers from circumventing the CRS it is specifically designed with a broad scope across three dimensions:

  • The financial information to be reported with respect to reportable accounts includes all types of investment income (including interest, dividends, income from certain insurance contracts and other similar types of income) but also account balances and sales proceeds from financial assets.
  • The financial institutions that are required to report under the CRS do not only include banks and custodians but also other financial institutions such as brokers, certain collective investment vehicles and certain insurance companies.
  • Reportable accounts include accounts held by individuals and entities (which includes trusts and foundations), and the standard includes a requirement to look through passive entities to report on the individuals that ultimately control these entities.

The CRS also describes the due diligence procedures that must be followed by financial institutions to identify reportable accounts.

Sources of Excerpts:

OECD delivers new single global standard on automatic exchange of information, OECD Press Release (February 13, 2014).

Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, Background Information Brief, OECD (February 13, 2014).

Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Common Reporting Standard, OECD (released February 13, 2014).

LexisNexis FATCA Compliance Manual

book coverFifty contributing authors from the professional and financial industry provide 600 pages of expert analysis within the LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance (2nd Edition): many perspectives – one voice crafted by the primary author William Byrnes.

The LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance (2nd Edition) comprises 34 Chapters grouped in three parts: compliance program (Chapters 1–4), analysis of FATCA regulations (Chapters 5–16) and analysis of FATCA’s application for certain trading partners of the U.S. (Chapters 17–34), including intergovernmental agreements as well as the OECD’s TRACE initiative for global automatic information exchange protocols and systems. The 34 chapters include many practical examples to assist a compliance officer contextualize the regulations, IGA provisions, and national rules enacted pursuant to an IGA.  Chapters include by example an in-depth analysis of the categorization of trusts pursuant to the Regulations and IGAs, operational specificity of the mechanisms of information capture, management and exchange by firms and between countries, insights as to the application of FATCA and the IGAs within new BRIC and European country chapters.

One Response to “OECD Global Automatic Information Exchange Framework Released”

  1. […]  The most significant deletion is the elimination of the reference to the development by the OECD of a Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) (which has now […]

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