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Cayman Islands AEOI Updates: Portal Offline, Extension for Notification, and Updated CRS Self-Certifications and Participating Jurisdictions List

On 20 June 2017, the Cayman Islands Department of International Tax Cooperation (DITC) released an update regarding a number of  Automated Exchange of Information (AEOI) matters. As of this date, the Cayman AEOI Portal is temporarily offline to enable the installation of the CRS Reporting application with functionality expected to return in the upcoming days. The AEOI Portal User Guide v3.2 will be published on or before the time the AEOI Portal has returned online.

  • Notification (Registration) Deadline: The deadline for notification (registration) on the Cayman AEOI Portal for both US FATCA and CRS is extended to 31 July 2017. As a reminder, all Cayman Financial Institutions (CFIs) are required to register on the Cayman AEOI Portal (Link) for FATCA and CRS, or update their FATCA registration for CRS, even if they have no reporting obligations.
  • CRS Reportable Jurisdictions: The list of CRS Reportable Jurisdictions has been revised to include Barbados, Curacao, and Niue as Reportable Jurisdictions in 2018 onwards, instead of 2017 (Link-List in Appendix 4). In addition, revised CRS self-certifications have been released (Link-Entity) (Link-Individual).
    • Note that the revised entity CRS self-certification form clarifies Controlling Persons not located in Participating Jurisdictions are not required to provide a date of birth, place of birth, or taxpayer identification number (TIN).
  • IRS Notifications for 2014 and 2015 Reporting: US FATCA reporting CFIs are advised not to attempt to address any IRS notifications regarding 2014 and 2015 US FATCA returns in the Cayman AEoI Portal until further notice from the DITC.

Upcoming key dates related to AEOI Reporting in the Cayman Islands include:

  • July 31, 2017: Complete notifications for both CRS and FATCA
  • July 31, 2017: Re-submissions of 2014 and 2015 FATCA reports due, if applicable
  • July 31, 2017: Complete all 2016 CRS (includes UK CDOT reportable accounts) and FATCA reporting

Cyprus extends reporting deadline to 21 July 2017 and issues guidance for CRS

On 16 June 2017, the Cyprus Tax Department issued an announcement informing Financial Institutions that the submission date for CRS Reporting has been extended from 30 June 2017 to 21 July 2017 (Link) (Link-Greek).

In addition, the Cyprus Tax Department has issued Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information – Guidance Notes (Link) and Cyprus Administrative Service Providers (ASPs): Are They FIs under FATCA and CRS (Link).

Germany provides guidance on FATCA report submission and other critical points

On 16 June 2017, the Central Tax Office in Germany (“Bundeszentralamt für Steuern” or “BZSt”) issued a newsletter— Infobrief FATCA 04/2017 (Link-German) the data transmission through ELMA, as well as the online portal of BZSt (“BZSt-Online-Portal” or “BOP”). According to the newsletter:

  • As of 19 June 2017, FATCA reports can be transmitted through the ELMA mass data interface and the BOP (Link-German).
  • When using ELMA, data can only be transmitted using the new XML Schema Version 2.0 (Link-German).
  • The test environment for FATCA reporting with the ELMA mass interface proceeds independently and in parallel to FATCA reporting and data transmissions.
  • As a result of the test environment, part 3 of the communication handbook (“KHB FATCA Teil 3”), version 2.0 of the data schema (Datenschema Version 2.o) (Link-German) and the processing protocols (“Verarbeitungsprotokolle FATCA”) have been slightly changed.
  • For guidance regarding the XML Schema Version 2.0 of the BZSt, the FATCA XML Schema v2.0 User Guide (Link) can be used.

Hong Kong CRS legislation gazetted

On 16 June 2017, the Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong announced (Link) that the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 2017 (Amendment Ordinance) (Link) was gazetted and will come into effect on 1 July 2017.  The announcement states that:

We must expedite the expansion of the AEOI network in view of the recent international developments. The Amendment Ordinance can ensure that Hong Kong can preserve the financial account information from the second half of 2017 for exchanging with other jurisdictions. This enables the effective implementation of AEOI without introducing an undue compliance burden to financial institutions,” the Government spokesman added.

To implement AEOI, from July 1, 2017, the list of “reportable jurisdictions” under the Inland Revenue Ordinance will be expanded to cover 75 jurisdictions, comprising 13 confirmed AEOI partners and 62 prospective AEOI partners. The 62 prospective AEOI partners include the following three categories:

  • jurisdictions which have expressed an interest in conducting AEOI with Hong Kong to the OECD or jurisdictions suggested by the OECD;
  • Hong Kong’s tax treaty partners which have committed to AEOI; and
  • all member states of the EU.

The list of reportable jurisdictions can be found here

Indonesia and Ireland sign CRS competent authority agreements with Hong Kong

On 16 June and 8 June 2017, Hong Kong signed AEOI agreements with two more jurisdictions, respectively:  Indonesia (Link) and Ireland (Link).  This brings the total agreements to thirteen, which also includes Belgium, Canada, Guernsey, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom.  In addition, the press release states:    “The Government also plans to extend the application of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters to Hong Kong. An amendment bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council by late 2017. This will help further expand our AEOI network.”

HMRC’s Worldwide Disclosure Facility: Providing the chance to disclose voluntarily before new sanctions come into place in September 2018

On 5 September 2016, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the United Kingdom opened its Worldwide Disclosure Facility aimed at allowing any taxpayer wanting to disclose a UK tax liability that relates wholly or partly to an offshore issue (Link). After 30 September 2018, new sanctions under the Requirement to Correct (Link) will be introduced to reflect HMRC’s more stringent approach. The facility is open to all taxpayers and is not restricted to residents of the UK.

Taxpayers wishing to use the facility should register using HMRC’s Digital Disclosure Service (Link). After registration, taxpayers will have 90 days to:

  • gather the information needed to properly populate the disclosure;
  • calculate the final liabilities including tax, duty, interest and penalties;
  • populate the disclosure, using the unique disclosure reference number (DRN) received at registration.

CAAs with Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and New Zealand enter into force in Singapore

On 7 June 2017, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) announced (Link) that its Competent Authority Agreement (“CAA”) with Denmark (Link), Estonia (Link), Lithuania (Link) and New Zealand (Link) for the automatic exchange of financial account information entered into force on 5 June 2017.  Under the CAA, the IRAS will automatically exchange financial information of accounts in Singapore held by tax residents of Spain with the competent authorities of Spain for reciprocal information.