New Zealand approves Exchange of Information Bill with amendments

New Zealand has approved, with amendments, the Taxation (Business Tax, Exchange of Information and Remedial Matters) Bill (Link) (Link-PDF) which was referred to committee on 11 August 2016.  Comments were submitted until 9 September 2016 which were considered and oral evidence was also provided. Among other items, the Bill seeks to implement the G20/OECD standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters and to implement the disclosure requirements for foreign trusts recommended by the Government Inquiry into Foreign Trust Disclosure Rules.

Switzerland adopts the Ordinance on International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters

During its meeting on 23 November 2016, the Federal Council adopted the Ordinance on International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters (Link). The ordinance will enter into force on 1 January 2017. Link to press release.

The ordinance contains the Federal Council’s implementing provisions for the Federal Act on the International Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters (AEOI Act). The ordinance mentions in particular other non-reporting financial institutions and exempt accounts, and regulates details with regard to the reporting and due diligence requirements for reporting Swiss financial institutions. Aside from the implementing provisions for the AEOI Act, the ordinance sets out other provisions which are required to implement the automatic exchange of information. The ordinance also includes implementing provisions on the tasks of the Federal Tax Administration (FTA), on the information system and in the Annex the applicable alternative provisions of the OECD commentary on the joint reporting and due diligence standard for information on financial accounts.

Switzerland signs a joint declaration on AEOI with South Africa

On 24 November 2016, Switzerland and South Africa announced (Link) that they have signed a joint declaration on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters on a reciprocal basis (Link). Both countries intend to start collecting data in accordance with the global AEOI standard in 2018 and to exchange it from 2019 onwards.

IRS releases FATCA Notification XML Schema v2.3

On 1 December 2016, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released and updated FATCA Notification Schema v2.3 include new file and record level error notification codes for Nil Reports and FATCA XML Schema v2.0. In the announcement, the IRS has stated that the IDES test environment will only accept FATCA Notification XML Schema v2.3 and it will be effective in January 2017.  More information can be found on the IDES Schema website (Link).

FATCA IDES testing period for Schema v2.0 runs from 19 December to 30 January 2017

On 1 December 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced the testing periods for the FATCA International Data Exchange Service (“IDES”) for FATCA XML Schema v2.0. According to the schedule on its website, IDES users should enroll online by 15 December 2016 (5 p.m. EDT) while the testing will be open from 19 December 2016 (at 8:00 a.m. EDT) to 30 January 2017 (at 5:00 p.m. EDT) (Link).

In addition, the IRS has issued a reminder to sign up and attend the next FATCA Global IT Forum which it will host on 7 and 8 December 2016 (Link).

IRS releases final Form 8938 and instructions for 2016

On 23 November 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released the final Form 8938 for 2016 (Link).  On 22 November 2016, the instructions on how to complete the form (Link) were also released. Form 8938 should be filed by specified individuals with interests in specified foreign financial assets where the value of those assets meet or exceed the reporting threshold. Therefore, this reporting should be the responsibility of the account holder, and not the institution by which the account is held (i.e. Form 8966 or similar financial institution reporting in IGA countries). This form should be attached to a filers’ annual tax return and filed by the due date, including extensions, for that return (e.g. Form 1040, Form 1040NR)

Switzerland signs bilateral agreement with five countries on the automatic exchange of information in tax matters

On 22 November 2016, Switzerland and India signed a joint declaration on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters on a reciprocal basis (Link). On 16 November 2016, Switzerland and Argentina signed a joint declaration (Link) on the introduction of the AEOI in tax matters on a reciprocal basis. On 18 November 2016, Switzerland signed also a joint declaration on the introduction of the AEOI in tax matters on a reciprocal basis with Brazil (Link), Mexico (Link) and Uruguay (Link). Switzerland and its partner jurisdictions intend to start collecting data in accordance with the global AEOI standard in 2018 and to exchange it from 2019 onwards. From a legal point of view, the automatic exchange of information with those countries will be implemented based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA). The MCAA is based on the international standard for the exchange of information developed by the OECD. The Federal Council has authorized the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to conduct a consultation for the introduction of the AEOI with several countries. It will be initiated soon. Thereafter, the corresponding federal decrees will be submitted to Parliament for approval.