Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Mongolia and Oman sign Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

On 27 November 2019, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Mongolia and Oman signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (“Convention”), raising the total number of jurisdictions to 135 (Link).

The Convention enables jurisdictions to engage in a wide range of mutual assistance in tax matters such as exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection (Link).

OECD Global Forum summarizes annual meeting

From 26 to 27 November 2019, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes held its annual meeting in Paris, bringing together over 500 delegates from more than 140 jurisdictions, international organizations and regional groups to further strengthen the international community’s fight against tax evasion (Link-Blog).

The meeting marked the widespread rollout of automatic exchange of financial account information. Global Forum members took stock of the tremendous progress made in the implementation of the standard of automatic exchange of information (“AEOI”). Last year almost 90 jurisdictions automatically exchanged information on 47 million financial accounts worth approximately EUR 4.9 trillion. 2019 is the third year of exchanges under the AEOI Standard and 94 jurisdictions are now exchanging financial account information. The exchange networks have also been significantly expanded, providing the basis for around 6 100 automatic exchanges in 2019, an increase of 36% compared to the previous year.

The statement of outcomes can be read at the OECD’s website (Link).

TIWB launches project on AEOI

On 26 November 2019, Tax Inspectors Without Borders initiative (“TIWB”) announced the launch of a project on the Automatic Exchange of Information (“AEOI”) (Link). The TIWB initiative is set to initiate a broad number of pilot programs in support of developing countries’ efforts to ensure the effective use of AEOI data with regard to data analytics, risk assessments, compliance interventions, awareness campaigns, notifications to taxpayers, audit policy, practice and generating tax assessments.

In addition, on 25 November 2019, Armenia and Italy agree on Tax Inspectors Without Borders partnership to combat international tax avoidance and evasion (Link).

IRS informs users of an upcoming IDES testing session

On 26 November 2019, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Issue 2019-9 announcing an upcoming Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) International Data Exchange Service (“IDES”) testing session (Link). IDES opens for testing from 16 December 2019, at 8:00 AM EST to 24 January 2020, at 5:00 PM EST. The test session will be open to users that have completed IDES enrollment by 12 December 2019, at 5:00 PM EST. User participation in IDES open testing is voluntary. In order to participate in testing, you need to have an active password. All passwords and profile information should be updated before the enrollment cutoff. Users should also verify the digital certificates uploaded to IDES for their organization are valid. All testing sessions will be announced on the IDES Testing Schedule web page (Link). For assistance with enrollment, the IDES Help Desk should be contacted (Link). Any production files submitted to the test environment will not be processed. Do not submit production files to the test environment or test files to the production environment.

Germany releases CRS Infobrief 08/2019

On 12 November 2019, German Federal Central Tax Office (“Bundeszentralamt für Steuern” or “BZSt”) issued a newsletter “CRS Infobrief 07/2019”, providing updated information regarding the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) (Link-German). The updates include:

  • Information about the new OECD CRS Scheme 2.0, which is available as of 1 January 2021, for international data exchange. For the German national data transmission, the new scheme will be implemented from 1 December 2020. With the conversion of the CRS XML schema, the ELMA header will be adapted analogous to FATCA. This is used together with the new CRS schema from 1 December 2020.
  • Information that cancellation deliveries are now only possible for first and empty deliveries. Cancellation of a correction delivery is no longer permitted. In future, relevant changes can only be made via a further correction or deletion delivery.
  • A list of the six most common errors which led to rejection.
  • A reference to the information provided by the OECD on country-specific tax identification numbers (“TINs”). Financial institutions can check the respective national regulations, structure, use and validity of the tax identification numbers provided by customers on the OECD’s website (Link).

In addition, also on 15 November 2019, the BZSt released version 3.0 of the German XML User Guide (Link-German). The User Guide will be effective from 1 January 2021.

Russia updates list of organizations to be treated as Financial Institutions

On 18 November 2019, the Federal Tax Service of Russia updated the list of organizations, which shall be treated as Financial Institutions (Link-Russian). This list only represents the opinion of the Federal Tax Service of Russia, agreed with the Ministry of Finance of Russia and the Bank of Russia. The list is not intended to be an exhaustive list and will be supplemented. In addition, the list is not a regulatory legal act and only has an informative character. The list does not prevent organizations to be guided by the norms of the legislation of the Russian Federation in a different understanding from the list.

Switzerland’s AEOI Qualification Committee issues new version of assessment document

On 20 November 2019, the Swiss “AIA-Qualifikationsgremium”, which is the Automatic Exchange of Information (“AEOI”) Qualification Committee, issued a new version of its AEOI and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) assessment document to answer recent questions (Link-German).

The AEOI Qualification Committee was established on 1 December 2016. This committee is led by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (“FTA”) and the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (“SIF”). The Qualification Committee provides a Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) page dealing with questions arising from the implementation of the AEOI in Switzerland. The Q&A was also updated on 20 November 2019 and is available in German (Link-German), French (Link-French), and Italian (Link-Italian).

Montenegro releases bill to enact the Mutual Assistance Convention

On 14 November 2019, Montenegro issued a bill to ratify the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (“Convention”) (Link). The Convention was signed on 3 October 2019, raising the total number of jurisdictions to 130 (Link-Blog).

The Convention enables jurisdictions to engage in a wide range of mutual assistance in tax matters (Link).

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