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What is the CRS?

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS), developed in response to the G20 request and approved by the OECD Council on 15 July 2014, calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.

The Standard consists of the following four key parts: 

Further guidance

Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters: Implementation Handbook

  • In addition to the CRS, the OECD has published the second edition of the CRS Implementation Handbook, which, although not part of the CRS, provides a practical guide to implementing the CRS to both government officials and financial institutions and includes a comparison between the CRS and FATCA.

Common Reporting Standard Status Message XML Schema: User Guide for Tax Administrations

  • The OECD has published its standardised IT-format for providing structured feedback on exchanged Common Reporting Standard information – the CRS Status Message XML Schema – as well as the related User Guide.

  • The CRS XML Schema is the IT-based and standardised format for the reporting of information under the CRS. The User Guide explains the information required to be included in each CRS data element to be reported in the CRS XML Schema. The third edition will be in use as from 1 February 2021.

  • The OECD maintains and regularly updates a list of CRS-related Frequently Asked Questions. These FAQs were received from business and government delegates and answers to such questions clarify the CRS and assist in ensuring consistency in implementation.

Mandatory Disclosure Rules under CRS Avoidance Arrangements

The OECD has released Model Mandatory Disclosure Rules for CRS Avoidance Arrangements and Opaque Offshore Structures. The design of these model rules draws extensively on the best practice recommendations in the BEPS Action 12 Report while being specifically targeted at these types of arrangements and structures. Part I gives an overview of the model rules. Part II sets out the text of the rules. Part III provides a commentary on those rules.

‌In order to support the automatic exchange of information collected under the OECD's Model Mandatory Disclosure Rules on Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Avoidance Arrangements and Opaque Offshore Structures (MDRs), the OECD has designed the international legal and operational framework for MDR exchanges.

Maintaining the integrity of the CRS

The CRS was designed with a broad scope in terms of the financial information to be reported, the Account Holders subject to reporting and the Financial Institutions required to report, in order to limit the opportunities for taxpayers to circumvent reporting. It also requires that jurisdictions, as part of their effective implementation of the CRS, put in place anti-abuse rules to prevent any practices intended to circumvent the reporting and due diligence procedures.

To maintain the integrity of the CRS, the OECD is interested in receiving information on potential CRS avoidance schemes. Such information can be sent to CRS@oecd.org. All reported schemes will be systematically analysed by the OECD with a view to assessing the risk they present to the overall integrity and effectiveness of the CRS and agreeing appropriate courses of action.