With the approval of the CRS in 2014 and commitments for putting in place the CRS by over 90 jurisdictions, its implementation is now progressively becoming a reality.

 

COUNTRY IMPLEMENTATION

The CRS by jurisdiction table, launched in November 2015, contains a comprehensive overview of the legislation, regulations, regulations and guidance that jurisdictions have developed for the purpose of implementing the CRS.

 

TINs & TAX RESIDENCY INFORMATION

In addition, jurisdictions have made information available with respect to their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) and tax residency rules, in order to help both taxpayers and financial institutions to comply with their obligations under the CRS.

 

SAMPLE SELF-CERTIFICATION FORMS

The Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) has drafted the following self-certification forms and has requested the OECD to make these forms available on the AEOI Portal to assist with the implementation of the CRS. The OECD has not approved the forms and neither the OECD nor BIAC regard them as mandatory or as best practice documents. They serve only to illustrate how financial institutions may consider requesting customer information from their accountholders. Financial institutions should consult their advisers to ensure their CRS-related operations, including the self-certification forms collected from accountholders, comply with all applicable national laws. BIAC is an independent international business association devoted to giving the OECD business perspectives on a broad range of global policy issues.

 

IMPLEMENTATION ASSISTANCE

In addition to the work undertaken by jurisdictions to timely implement the CRS, the OECD and the Global Forum have undertaken a number of initiatives for the purpose of assisting governments with the successful implementation of the CRS.

 

Factsheets:

 

Reports:

The OECD released three new reports to help jurisdictions and financial institutions implement the global Standard for automatic exchange of financial account information.

  • Common Reporting Standard Implementation Handbook (the CRS Handbook): this first edition provides practical guidance to assist government officials and financial institutions in the implementation of the Standard. It sets out the necessary steps for implementation and will help financial institutions and governments implement the Standard more efficiently by promoting the consistent use of optional provisions, identifying areas for alignment with FATCA and addressing the operational and transitional challenges resulting from the staggered implementation of the Standard. It also contains answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) received from business and governments, with a view to furthering the effective implementation of the Standard. The Handbook is intended to be a “living” document and will be updated on a regular basis.
  • Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programmes: this second edition contains a wealth of practical experience from 47 countries in relation to their voluntary disclosure programmes. The guidance on the design and implementation of such programmes has been updated, particularly taking into account the views of private client advisers. The limited time left until the automatic exchange of information under the Standard becomes a reality will in many instances be the last window of opportunity for non-compliant taxpayers to voluntarily disclose. This is therefore a crucial moment to update the publication and reflects OECD policy of encouraging countries to examine voluntary compliance strategies that enable non-compliant taxpayers to come forward.
  • Model Protocol to the Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs): this report provides the basis for jurisdictions wishing to extend the scope of their existing TIEAs to also cover the automatic and/or spontaneous exchange of tax information.

 

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

In order to support all its members, and especially developing countries, to implement and ultimately to attain the benefits of the Standard, dedicated technical assistance is being offered by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. Technical assistance is undertaken in three key ways:

  • Training seminars (with more than 400 government officials attending training in 2015 alone);
  • One-to-one advisory services, particularly focussing on legislation and other areas highlighted through the ongoing monitoring process; and
  • Pilot projects, which support developing countries throughout the entire implementation process with the partnership of an experienced peer jurisdiction, the Global Forum and the World Bank Group.

 

Pilot Projects

The Global Forum, in conjunction with the World Bank Group and other Global Forum members, is conducting pilot projects for developing countries to support their implementation of the Standard.

It is intended that several pilot projects be undertaken in 2015 and 2016. Pilot projects are undertaken as a collaborative effort between the Pilot country and a developed country that has agreed to partner with the Pilot country, the Global Forum Secretariat, the World Bank Group and other organisations where relevant. Three pilot projects have already commenced: Albania (partnering with Italy); Colombia (partnering with Spain) and the Philippines (partnering with Australia).

The pilot projects will employ a step-by-step approach to implementation. The intention is that over time, each developing country participant (the “Pilot country”) would reach full implementation in accordance with the Standard. For more information, see the pilot project outline (PDF).

The work to support developing countries to be able to implement and benefit from the new Standard came about at the request of the G20. In 2013, the G20 leaders called on the Development Working Group in conjunction with the finance track, to work with the OECD, the Global Forum and other international organisations to develop a roadmap showing how developing countries can overcome obstacles to participation in the new Standard, and to assist them in meeting the Standard in accordance with the action envisaged in the St Petersburg Development Outlook. The G20 Development Working Group, in its work on domestic resource mobilisation, requested the Global Forum Secretariat to lead the preparation of the Roadmap for developing country participation in the new Standard.

The Roadmap (PDF), which draws on extensive consultations with developing countries, the World Bank Group, international organisations and civil society, identifies the costs, benefits and challenges for developing countries to implement the new Standard. It outlines the necessary foundations for implementing the new Standard, and recommends that pilot projects be undertaken with developing countries to assist with effective implementation. 

In combination, these tasks are ensuring the global implementation of the Standard in an effective manner, and safeguarding the important political commitments that have been made.