The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has introduced new global standards of exchange of tax information. The European Commission (EC) with its turn has implemented these new standards via Directive 2014/107/EU which introduces the mandatory rules knows as CRS allowing the tax authorities of the European Union (EU) Member States to exchange tax information and have immediate access to the tax information of any European tax payer citizen.
For identification purposes of a citizen’s tax residence account holders or potential account holders will be required to provide any authorized credit institutions and any other financial institutions upon request self-certifications which include their tax identification numbers and their country of tax residence.
The information that will be exchanged between the tax administrators of EU Member States will include:
– Interest, dividends, and other similar types of income.
– Information on account balances, sale proceeds from financial assets, and income from certain insurance products.
– Information on accounts which are held either directly or indirectly by the holders of the accounts as long as they reside and are tax residents in countries which implement the CRS.
According to the EC, as there is consistency between the rules of the EC and the global standard of exchange of the OECD, EU tax authorities can use one single format to cooperate within but also outside the EU. In the case of countries outside the EU multilateral agreements will need to be entered. On 29th of October 2014 Cyprus signed a Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Information which was published in the official Government Gazette on 18th of December 2015.
The authorized credit institutions in Cyprus as well as any other financial institutions have already started, from the 1st of January 2016, requesting all necessary information from the account holders who are tax residents of Cyprus in order to update their records and provide the relevant authority in Cyprus that is the Inland Revenue Department with all collected information in order for the Inland Revenue Department to be in a position to provide any requested information to any relevant tax authority of any EU Member State or other country implementing CRS.
In case of refusal by account holders or potential account holders to provide any requested information to the authorized credit institutions as well as to any other financial institutions new customers will not be able to proceed with the opening of a bank account whereas existing customers will be declared as reportable and the relevant tax authority will be informed of this. In case of financial institutions refusing to provide the requested information to the relevant tax authorities or the tax authorities of the participating countries which implement CRS do not cooperate they will be subject to penalties.
In case of information gathered for tax payers who are tax residents of another member state or country which implements CRS the relevant tax authority will be obliged to provide such information to the corresponding tax authority of the country at which the account holder is a tax resident. In 2017 it is expected that the first reporting will take place between the participating countries which implement CRS and such report will also cover the year 2016.
You may visit the OECD CRS portal: http://www.oecd.org/tax/automatic-exchange/ for useful guidance.
For further information you can contact Maria Kitromilidou (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tereza Pendondgis (email@example.com)