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Automatic Exchange of Information (AEI)

By John Hayward
This article is published on: 11th November 2015

Did you know that recently, approximately 100 countries have signed up to a new initiative by the OECD’s updated Common Reporting Standard (CRS) whereby a global information-sharing system is to be put in place amongst individual tax authorities. This means that information on taxpayers with offshore assets will be shared between the participating countries.

This transparency is meant to be a deterrent to taxpayers’ using offshore accounts and assets as a means of avoiding domestic tax. The participating countries are committed to applying this procedure in order to tackle tax evasion.

This “automatic exchange of financial account information” (AEI) will commence from 2017 on an annual basis between participating countries and is set to become the most comprehensive and powerful tool to date used by worldwide tax authorities.

The first AEI of 2017 will relate to all account information of 1st January 2016 and reporting will involve individuals who own or control accounts either directly or via financial institutions, be it banks, brokers, investment vehicles, insurance companies or other financial organisations.

The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEI) is facilitated by having financial institutions in each participating country reporting relevant information regarding clients, who are resident in another participating country, to their local tax authorities. Local tax authorities will then automatically exchange this information with their counterparts in other participating countries on an annual basis.

The account information generally includes account number, balance and gross earnings in respect of any payments through the account including any investment income, income earned from assets etc. The information on each person generally includes name, address, country of residence, nationality, national insurance and tax identification numbers, place and date of birth.

So if you live in Spain and have overseas assets and/or investments that you previously thought were non-declarable to the Spanish authorities, then this may be something that you need to address.

Article by John Hayward

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