ACTIVATED EXCHANGE RELATIONSHIPS FOR CRS INFORMATION
The details of which jurisdictions will bilaterally exchange financial account information as required under the OECD's Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for the Common Reporting Standard (CRS MCAA) is now available. The relationships shown included those under the framework of Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention and the CRS MCAA, as well as exchange relationships based on bilateral agreements and the EU framework.
As of October 2016, and with still almost a year to go until the first exchange date on 30 September 2017, there are now already over 1000 bilateral exchange relationships activated with respect to jurisdictions committed to a 2017 timeline.
THE CRS MULTILATERAL COMPETENT AUTHORITY AGREEMENT (MCAA)
In addition to translating the CRS into domestic law, a key element of its successful implementation is the putting in place of an international framework that allows the automatic exchange of CRS information between jurisdictions.
With over 100 jurisdictions having committed to exchanging information with each other under the CRS, exchange relationships between jurisdictions are typically based on the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the "Multilateral Convention" - see also Chart of jurisdictions participating in the Multilateral Convention), in which more than 100 jurisdictions are participating, and the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (the "CRS MCAA"), which is based on its Article 6. Jurisdictions may alternatively rely on a bilateral agreement, such as a double tax treaty or a tax information exchange agreement. In addition, certain CRS exchanges will take place on the basis of the relevant EU Directive, agreements between the EU and third countries and bilateral agreements, such as the UK-CDOT agreements.
The CRS MCAA specifies the details of what information will be exchanged and when. It is a multilateral framework agreement, with the subsequent bilateral exchanges coming into effect between those signatories that file the subsequent notifications under Section 7 of the CRS MCAA. The notifications to be filed by each jurisdiction include (i) a confirmation that domestic CRS legislation is in place and whether the jurisdiction will exchange on a reciprocal or non-reciprocal basis, (ii) a specification of the transmission and encryption methods, (iii) a specification of the data protection requirements to be met in relation to information exchanged by the jurisdiction, (iv) a confirmation that the jurisdiction has appropriate confidentiality and data safeguards in place and (v) a list of its intended exchange partner jurisdictions under the CRS MCAA. A particular bilateral relationship under the CRS MCAA becomes effective only if both jurisdictions have the Convention in effect, have filed the above notifications and have listed each other. Activated relationships can be consulted here.
On 29 October 2014, 51 jurisdictions participated in the first ever signing ceremony for the CRS MCAA in Berlin. The significance of this event was demonstrated by the participation of 38 ministers in the signing ceremony, the largest gathering of ministers to take joint action to address tax evasion. Brazil joined the Agreement in October 2016, bringing the current total number of signatories to 85. Pakistan joined the Multilateral Convention in September 2016, bringing the total number of jurisdictions participating in the multilateral Convention to 104 (see Chart of jurisdictions participating in the Multilateral Convention).