Category: General

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Belgium temporarily closes MyMinfinPro FATCA Portal

On 7 September 2017, Belgian Public Federal Service Finance (“SPF Finance”) announced that MyMinfinPro FATCA Portal will be temporarily closed to allow the SPF Finance to consolidate various information received and to further communicate such information to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (Link-French).

The reopening of the MyMinfinPro FATCA Portal will be announced on the SPF Finance website.

Switzerland considers future possibility of applying the voluntary disclosure option

The Switzerland tax authorities have considered the future possibility of applying the voluntary disclosure option (Link-German). The competent cantonal tax administration is responsible for assessing whether voluntary disclosure meets the legal requirements. This also applies to the question whether the tax administration was already aware of the tax factors which are being disclosed, and the disclosure is therefore not made voluntarily.

In the opinion of the tax authorities, this knowledge is assumed for the automatic exchange of information (“AEOI”) tax factors at the latest from 30 September 2018, so that their disclosure is no longer on its own initiative. Therefore, in the opinion of the tax authorities, a (non-criminal) self-declaration of such income factors is no longer possible from this date. For the AEOI taxing factors existing after 2017 and for tax factors from countries which later acceded to the AEOI, this applies analogously to 30 September of the year in which the data exchange takes place (for the first time).
The knowledge from other sources as well as the fulfilment of the other requirements of the disclosure are independent from this date.

Cayman Islands closes AEOI Portal for reporting

On 30 August 2017, the Cayman Islands Department for International Tax Cooperation announced that the AEOI Portal will be closed for reporting at 4 PM on 13 September 2017 (Link). The AEOI Portal will reopen to allow Cayman Financial Institutions to complete any outstanding reporting only after the data submitted prior to the closing have been transmitted to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the CRS Common Transmission System.

The reopening of the AEOI Portal will be communicated through an Industry Advisory and on the AEOI Portal News and Updates page of the Department for International Cooperation website. The AEOI Portal is not anticipated to reopen until late October or early November at the earliest.

OECD publishes the information on the first automatic CRS exchanges

On 14 September 2017, the OECD announced that at this moment, 102 jurisdictions have publicly committed to implement the CRS, with 49 being committed to start exchanges in September this year and a further 53 taking up exchanges in September 2018 (Link). In addition, the OECD announced that another series of bilateral exchange relationships was established under the CRS MCAA and in total, there are more than 2000 bilateral relationships for the automatic exchange of CRS information in place across the globe. The full list of automatic exchange of information relationships under the CRS MCAA currently in place is available online (Link). All 49 jurisdictions committed to start exchanges in September this year have activated their exchange relationships under the CRS MCAA and the network of bilateral exchange relationships (also including those established through the EU DAC2 Directive and bilateral agreements) now covers over 99% of the total number of possible exchange relationships.

Moreover, 20 of the 53 jurisdictions committed to first exchanges in 2018 have already put the international legal requirements in place to commence exchanges under the CRS MCAA next year. A further activation round for jurisdictions committed to a 2018 timeline is scheduled to take place in November 2017 which will allow the remaining jurisdictions to nominate the partners with which they will undertake automatic exchanges of CRS information.

OECD publishes new report on tax policy reforms

On 13 September 2017, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) issued a new report “Tax Policy Reforms: OECD and Selected Partner Economies” (“Report”) (Link). According to this report, countries have continued the trend towards implementing tax policy reforms as part of wider strategies to boost growth, with a growing focus on reducing inequalities and driving behavioral change. The Report describes the major tax reforms that were implemented, legislated or announced in 2016 across the 35 OECD members as well as in Argentina and South Africa. Additionally, the Report identifies major tax policy trends and highlights that tax is increasingly being used as a key policy lever within inclusive economic growth strategies of many countries.

IRS announces ITIN process webinar

On 13 September 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that it will host an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”) Process webinar on Wednesday, 20 September 2017, from 1- 2:30 p.m. EDT. Those interested in attending the ITIN Process Webinar can register via the ITIN Process Webinar Registration Page (Link). Attendees will learn and discuss what an ITIN is, identifying the difference between a social security number and an ITIN, and determining its use. Additionally, the webcast will explain the process of applying for an ITIN.

IRS reminds FFIs about FFI agreement renewals

On 14 September 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued a reminder to foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) to renew their Foreign Financial Institution (“FFI”) agreement if required (Link). The deadline for the FFI agreement renewal is 24 October 2017. Those FFIs that don’t renew their agreements could be removed from the November FFI list and be subject to a 30 percent tax on certain U.S. source payments.

IRS issues corrections to the FATCA proposed regulations

On 15 September 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued:

  • a correction to a notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-103477-14) that was published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 6, 2017 (Link). The notice of proposed rulemaking under chapter 4 of the Subtitle A (sections 1471 through 1474) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code) relates to verification and certification requirements for certain entities and reporting by foreign financial institutions.

This correction is effective on 15 September 2017 and it is applicable beginning 6 January 2017 (Link).

  • a correction to a notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-134247-16) that was published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 6, 2017 (Link). The notice of proposed rulemaking under section 1441 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code) relates to withholding of tax on certain U.S. source income paid to foreign persons and requirements for certain claims for refund or credit of income tax made by foreign persons.

This correction is effective on 15 September 2017 and it is applicable beginning 6 January 2017 (Link).