OECD – Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters: Implementation Handbook. SECOND EDITION
The purpose of the CRS Handbook is to assist government officials in the implementation of the Standard for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (“Standard”) and to provide a practical overview of the Standard to both the financial sector and the public at-large. The Handbook provides a guide on the necessary steps to take in order to implement the Standard. Against that background, the Handbook is drafted in plain language, with a view of making the content of the Standard as accessible as possible to readers. The Handbook provides an overview of the legislative, technical and operational issues and a more detailed discussion of the key definitions and procedures contained in the Standard. This second edition of the Handbook is intended to be a living document and will be further updated and completed over time. Changes reflected in the second edition of the Handbook provide additional and more up-to-date guidance on certain areas related to the effective implementation of the Standard. This includes revisions to sections pertinent to the legal framework for implementation of the AEOI, data protection, IT and administrative infrastructures as well as compliance measures. More clarity has been provided in the trust section of the Handbook relation to the identification of Controlling Persons. The objective of the Handbook is to assist stakeholders in the understanding and implementation of the Standard and should not be seen as supplementing or expanding on the Standard itself. Cross references to the Standard and its Commentary are therefore included throughout the document. The page numbers refer to the pages in the consolidated second edition of the Standard. Background to the creation of the Standard for Automatic Exchange 1. In 2014, the OECD together with G20 countries and in close cooperation with the EU as well as other stakeholders developed the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters, or the Standard. This was in response to the call of the G20 leaders on international community to facilitate cross-border tax transparency on financial accounts held abroad. The Standard intends to equip tax authorities with an effective tool to tackle offshore tax evasion by providing a greater level of information on their residents’ wealth held abroad. In order to maximise efficiency and minimise costs the Standard builds on the automated and standardised solutions that jurisdictions previously developed for the purposes of the intergovernmental operationalisation of the US laws commonly known as FATCA. 2. The Standard has now moved from the design to implementation and application phase with the first exchanges having taken place in September 2017. There are over 100 jurisdictions representing all the major international financial centres that have committed to commence automatic exchange of information in 2017 or 2018. Within that group there is a small group of jurisdictions that have yet to pass domestic legislation to impose reporting obligations on their financial institutions. Many jurisdictions have also made significant progress in adopting the necessary international legal frameworks enabling cross-border exchanges. 3. The commitment process is monitored by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (“Global Forum”) whose role is to ensure timely and effective implementation of the Standard based on a level playing field. In parallel, the OECD continues its work on the practicalities of the Standard by seeking stakeholder input and clarifying its application through the regular publication of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the AEOI Portal as well as updates to this Handbook.