Finland issues revised version of FATCA and CRS Technical Instructions

On 17 and 20 September 2019, the Tax Administration of Finland published revised versions of its Technical Instructions for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) 1.7 (Link-Finnish) and Technical Instructions for the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) 1.5 (Link-Finnish).

The changes for FATCA are:

  • Added paragraphs “7. Checks by Notifier” and “8. Comments made by Notifier”
  • Updated XML samples

The changes for CRS are:

  • Added paragraphs “7. Checks by Notifier” and “8. Comments made by Notifier”
  • Updated Section “6.3.3.4 Substantial Owner”

North Macedonia deposits ratification instruments for Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

On 30 August 2019, North Macedonia deposits ratification instruments for Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (“Convention”) (Link). The signing on 27 June 2018 raised the total number of jurisdictions to 124 (Link-Blog).

The Convention is one of the most important and powerful instruments in the area of international tax cooperation. It provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters, e.g. exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, etc. Furthermore, the Convention provides for the extensive safeguards concerning the protection of the taxpayers’ rights. As the Convention is the premier instrument for the implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”), North Macedonia is closer to become a CRS participating jurisdiction (Link).

Tax Inspectors Without Borders issues activity report

In October 2019, the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (“TIWB”) released a report from the Secretariat, which covers TIWB’s activity from May 2018 to April 2019 (Link).

  • Chapter 1 situates TIWB in the fast-moving tax and development landscape.
  • Chapter 2 provides details on TIWB targets, trends and achievements, including key events and activities undertaken in the year.
  • Chapter 3 provides details of results achieved and measurement of outcomes.
  • Chapter 4 highlights lessons learned, including challenges and strategies going forward.
  • Chapter 5 highlights key organizational developments and Chapter 6 provides the draft work plan for the coming year.

The report notes options for the application of the TIWB model to other tax areas including joint audits and support for the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) data interpretation.

TIWB is a joint initiative of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations Development Program, supporting countries in building tax audit capacity. TIWB programs complement the broader efforts of the international community to strengthen co-operation on tax matters and contribute to the domestic resource mobilization efforts of developing countries.

OECD releases Tax Administration 2019 report

On 23 September 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) issued the Tax Administration 2019 report (Link). The report provides internationally comparative data on aspects of tax systems and their administration in 58 economies. This year’s OECD’s Tax Administration report shows how tax administrations are moving to e-administration and using a range of technology tools, data sources and analytics to increase tax compliance.

The report states, that international exchange of information has increased exponentially through the Common Reporting Standard.

Switzerland and U.S. amend their DTA

As previously reported (Link-Blog), the U.S. Senate approved the 2009 protocol amending the double taxation agreement (“DTA”) in the area of income tax between Switzerland and the U.S. on 17 July 2019. On this basis, on 20 September 2019, Switzerland and the United States exchanged the instruments of ratification of the protocol of amendment to their DTA. The protocol entered into force on the same day (Link).

Under the new provision, group requests are also allowed for cases of tax evasion. Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) Agreement, group requests are admissible for cases from 30 June 2014 onwards.

The information is also available in French (Link-French), Italian (Link-Italian) and German (Link-German).

In addition, on 18 September 2019, the Swiss Government updated its Automatic Exchange of Information (“AEOI”) general information webpage on financial accounts (Link-German).

Ireland updates Exchange of Information Q&A

On 25 September 2019, Irish Tax and Customs updated their Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) on the Exchange of Information (“EOI”). The updated questions can be found on the Ireland’s Tax and Customs website and these questions address issues concerning spontaneous EOI, as well as the information exchange under the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) (Link).

For more information on the CRS and FATCA in Ireland, the “Irish Tax and Duty Manual” updated in June 2019 can be consulted (Link).

Luxembourg and U.S. amend their DTA

On 9 September 2019, the Minister of Finance of Luxembourg and the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg announced that the ratification procedures of the Protocol amending the Double Taxation Convention have been completed. The protocol entered into force on the same day (Link).

The Embassy states that the provisions of the Protocol, which allow for information held by financial institutions to be exchanged on request between Luxembourg and the United States of America are complementary to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”).

The Netherlands with an update on “accidental Americans”

On 17 September 2019, the Dutch Government published a document about the effects of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) and the consequences for US persons who are residents in the Netherlands (Link-Dutch).

The document, inter alia, refers to the Questions and Answers from the Dutch Government on Parliament’s questions about Recalcitrant account holders within FATCA from 27 August 2019 (Link-Blog).

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