Is it a signatory (or does it propose to become a signatory) to the Common Reporting Standard? And/or does it maintain (or intend to maintain) a public Register of beneficial ownership?
As an EU member Cyprus is bound by Directive 2014/107/EU on mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation. It is also a signatory to the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information. Cyprus implemented the Common Reporting Standard from the beginning of 2016 and will exchange information regarding 2016 in 2017.
Registers of beneficial ownership are maintained by the regulatory authorities such as the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates corporate and fiduciary service providers, and the Cyprus Bar Association and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus, which regulate their members’ activities in this area. The registers are open to inspection by the relevant authorities for appropriate purposes, but they are not open to inspection by the general public.
Yes, Greece is one of the signatories of the Common Reporting Standard and has committed to start its implementation as of 1.1.2016. There is no public register of beneficial ownership. However, there is an intention to soon establish a "public registry of estate", which will contain all moveable and immoveable assets of Greek taxpayers, even cash and pieces of art. No details are available about how indirect beneficial ownership in companies will be reported.
On 6 April 2016, Part 7 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 came into force providing that companies’ annual returns to Companies House must from now on contain beneficial ownership details. These provisions require the directors or partners must take reasonable steps to find out if there are “persons with significant control” (PSC) over the company. A PSC is an individual who:
- owns more than 25% of the company’s shares
- holds more than 25% of the company’s voting rights
- holds the right to appoint or remove the majority of directors
- has the right to, or actually exercises significant influence or control
- holds the right to exercise or actually exercises significant control over a trust or company that meets any of the other 4 conditions.
Information of beneficial ownership of companies is now publicly available on the Companies House website.
As a member of the G20, Mexico has subscribed to the Common Reporting Standards (CRS), and even has adapted the local set of laws, in order to meet the standards set forth by the OECD.
Additionally, Mexico has executed the Model Agreement for Competent Authorities on the CRS, along with other 81 jurisdictions. As consequence thereof, parties engaged as or with Mexican taxpayers could be required to submit country-by-country reports describing the operations in which they are involved.
What is more, as of 2017 Mexico intends to have the names, accounts and balances of Mexican taxpayers that have opened accounts outside of the country.
Gibraltar is an ‘early adopter’ of the CRS. It has committed to implement a public register of beneficial ownership.
Yes, Japan is a signatory to the Common Reporting Standard, and the NTA has released to the public detailed guidelines on what information will be disclosed and what due diligence should be undertaken by financial institutions as well as other details. There is no system of a public register of beneficial ownership; in practice the beneficial owner is identified through tax audit.
Yes, Hong Kong is a signatory to the Common Reporting Standard and has recently adopted the legislative framework to implement Automatic Exchange of Information. Hong Kong expects that its first exchanges will take place in 2018.
It is unclear whether the US will become a signatory of CRS and the U.S. does not maintain of public register of beneficial ownership.
In 2010, the U.S. introduced the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which was the basis for CRS. While CRS is aimed at similar objectives as FATCA, there are significant differences between CRS and FATCA including the scope of information to be reported, the definition of a financial institution and the applicable de minimis levels.
Yes, Spain is signatory to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and has committed to the reporting and due diligence standards required by OECD for the purpose of the automatic exchange of financial information.
In this sense, the CRS commitment was included in the Spanish domestic legislation by virtue of Royal Decree 1021/2015, of 13 November, which establishes the obligations to be met by the Spanish financial institutions (both Spanish financial institutions and Spanish branches of foreign financial institutions) in order to identify the holders and amounts of financial accounts.
The practical implementation of the above-mentioned obligation of information will be made through the submission of Form 289 (approved by Order HAP/16952016, of 25 October) to be filed on an annual basis before 31 May.
Austria implemented the Common Reporting Standard with the Gemeinsamer Meldestandard-Gesetz. The act came into force on 1 January 2016. Austria is not an early adopter country. It is the only EU member state which under the Directive has to start exchanging information in 2018 (instead of in 2017). Austria has voluntarily agreed to apply the new account due diligence to all accounts opened on October 1, 2016 or later. It will exchange information with respect to such new accounts in 2017 already with other EU member states. With respect to other Common Reporting Standard jurisdictions, information will be exchanged only in 2018.
There is no public register of beneficial ownership in Austria.
Yes, Germany is a signatory of the Common Reporting Standard and has implemented it in national law.
A public register of beneficial ownership is not part of the implementation. However, the exchange of information has increased recently and still increases based on the implementation of the OECD BEPS recommendations, changes at the level of the EU and FATCA.
Yes, Belgium is a signatory of the Common Reporting Standard and has implemented it into national law (Law of December 16th, 2015). The same law implements the obligation deriving from the US Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act (‘FATCA’).
A public register of beneficial ownership is not part of the implementation.
Yes, Italy is a signatory of the Common Reporting Standard and has implemented it in its domestic legislation (jointly with the bilateral agreement entered into with the Government of the United States for the FATCA implementation).
A public register of beneficial ownership has not been included in the CRS implementation rules for the time being.
Malaysia is a signatory to the Common Reporting Standard as it has signed the Model Competent Authority Agreement. At the moment, there is no plan to maintain a public register of beneficial ownership.
Ireland was an early adopter of the Common Reporting Standard.
Ireland is currently considering the implementation of a public register of beneficial ownership of shares in Irish incorporated companies. Irish companies are currently required to record the beneficial ownership of their shares, but this is not a public document.
France is a signatory of the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and has activated exchange relationships for the Common Reporting Standard information with 50 jurisdictions.
Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing has also been transposed in France. Companies are now required to disclose the identity of their beneficial owners –i.e. individuals owning, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the company’s equity or voting rights.
Australia is a signatory and has passed legislation giving effect to the Common Reporting Standard.
Australia does not presently maintain a public Register of beneficial ownership but Parliament has indicated that it is open to a similar measure.
Switzerland is a signatory and has introduced the legal foundations to the Common Reporting Standard. Data can then be gathered from 2017, and the first exchange of data can take place from 2018.
Switzerland has responded to calls to increase the transparency of companies with the Federal Act of the Implementation of the Revised Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force of 2012. Whilst this Act has brought a number of changes and obligations, it also included some very important updates to the requirements around beneficial ownership. Any individual who owns or controls over 25% of the entity’s shares capital or voting rights (whether held by bearer shares or registered shares) is required to be identified to the company or an appointed financial intermediary. The information will be made available to the Swiss authorities, which goes someway to increase the transparency of Swiss companies.