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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What you need to know about Common Reporting Standards (CRS)

What is CRS?
The Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) is a new information-gathering and reporting requirement for financial institutions in participating countries, to help fight against tax evasion and protect the integrity of tax systems. CRS is a commonly used term for the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (“AEOFAI”) in Tax Matters. CRS is published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”), and supported by G20 countries. It is intended to give participating countries transparency on the financial assets held offshore by their residents.
How many countries have committed to CRS?
Over 100 countries and major financial institutions across the globe have committed to participate. For a list of countries participating in the CRS, please see the OECD CRS portal. For further information on your tax residency, please refer to the rules governing tax residence that have been published by each national tax authority. You can also find out more at the OECD Automatic Exchange of Information portal.
How does CRS work?
CRS requires all financial institutions to identify customer tax residencies and to report financial accounts held by foreign tax residents to the local tax authorities. It further requires tax authorities in participating countries to exchange this information.
Who does it apply to?
CRS applies to individuals and legal entities, resident in any Participating CRS Jurisdiction.
What is ECAB's policy?
ECAB’s policy is to comply fully with CRS and all tax regulations.
What does this mean for customer?

The Bank shall contact all impacted customers to obtain self-certification forms in which they determine tax residency and provide their tax identification number. Without a self-certification, the Bank is legally obliged to consider the customer as a reportable person.

For more information regarding CRS, you may visit the OECD website at http://www.oecd.org/tax/automaticexchange/common-reporting-standard/, or contact your professional tax advisor. Please note that the Bank does not offer tax advice.

Who must complete the Tax Residency Self-Certification Form (the "Form")?
The Form must be completed by any customer or account holder who holds or wishes to establish a relationship with the Bank.
What should I do if I do not know how to complete the Self-Certification form or the other related forms?
The FAQs are intended to provide a general and high level overview of tax residency for customers and should not be used solely to determine your tax residency status. Your country(ies) of tax residency is based on your own personal circumstances. If you are unsure of your tax residency status please contact a professional tax advisor. You may find more information on how to determine tax residency by visiting the OECD website.
What happens if I do not complete the Self-Certification and other required forms or do not provide the required information?
The Bank may be obligated to decline any requests for new accounts, and decline any further transactions for existing clients that do not provide a completed CRS self-certification form and applicable documentation. Generally, all new clients are expected to provide the relevant CRS form to open any new financial account with the Bank. If you do not respond to the Bank’s request for a self-certification and depending on the details on your record, the Bank may need to treat your account as a reportable account.
Are all banks doing this?
All financial institutions – that includes banks, insurers and asset management businesses – in participating countries are required to be compliant with the CRS.
I am not aware of my tax residence, can the Bank advise me?
As a financial institution, we are not allowed to give tax advice. Your tax adviser may be able to assist you in answering specific questions on this form. Inland Revenue Department (IRD) can also provide guidance regarding how to determine your tax status. For more information on tax residence or legal and tax consequences, please consult your tax adviser or domestic tax authority - IRD.
I live in the same country as I pay tax so why do I need to give you these details?

Under the CRS, we are legally required to establish the tax residency status of all our customers, even if you are tax resident in the same country as where you hold your account.

We are required by law to verify the details you have provided as part of your self-certification. We might ask you for a copy of your passport to verify your identity or for some other evidence of your tax residency declared in your self-certification.

What is your reportable information under CRS?

Generally, the reportable information* includes:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Country (or countries) of tax residence;
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);
  • Date and place of birth (for individuals or Controlling Persons);
  • Account number;
  • Account balance;
  • Certain payments made into the account;
  • Place of registration/incorporation (for Entities)
  • Entity Type (for Entities)
  • Controlling Person Type for certain Entity Types (for Controlling Persons)

*Note that these may be subject to change under local legislation or guidance.

What does the term "Tax Residence" mean?
The term "tax residence" means that a person is resident in a country (tax residence) for tax purposes in accordance with the local law.
What is the difference between country of residence and tax residence?
The criteria of tax residency may be different from one country to another. For individuals, tax residence in a country can be based on a number of factors (one or more may apply) such as nationality, number of days you spend in a country, place of work, accommodation and financial interests. For example, in a large number of countries an individual’s tax residency is based on the number of days that he/she has stayed in the country. An individual is said to be resident in the country if he/she is in the country for more than 182 days in any fiscal year. Typically, an individual will be resident for tax purposes in only one country (the country in which they live). Some individuals can be a tax resident in more than one country.
The information I have been asked for on the forms is similar to the information I have been asked for under FATCA. Why is this different?

Even if you have already provided information under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), you may still need to provide additional information for the CRS as these are different regulations with different requirements.

FATCA is the US Law and requires financial institutions to identify US Persons and report in line with local FATCA regulations based on citizenship.

The CRS requires financial institutions to identify the tax residency of all customers and in most cases report information on customers who are tax resident outside of the country where they hold their accounts.

Will the Bank respect my data privacy?
Generally, the Bank will respect your data privacy. However, the Bank is legally required by certain laws to disclose your information to the relevant tax authorities if required to do so under the legislation or by a court order. The Bank may also be required to make a disclosure or provide the relevant tax authorities with your information without your consent or knowledge if so directed under the relevant legislations.
What information will be reported to tax authorities?

The information reported to tax authorities will include the information you have provided in the Self-Certification form and details about the accounts and products you have with us, including:

  • The balance or value
  • The total amounts of interest or payments credited
What is a Taxpayer Identification Number, and do all countries issue such a number?
A Taxpayer Identification Number, or TIN, is a unique combination of letters or numbers assigned by a country’s tax authority to an individual or an entity for tax administration purposes. Further information about the type of TIN applicable to your jurisdiction, please visit the OECD website.
How often do I submit the Form?
The CRS form will remain valid for three (3) years unless there is a change in circumstances which affects your tax residence status or where any information provided in the form becomes incorrect or if the relevant legislations are amended. Under this certification, you, as an account holder, must inform the Bank within 30 days of any changes in your circumstances.
What happens if you do not respond to the Bank's request for tax information under CRS?
Compliance with CRS is required by law in participating jurisdictions. If you do not respond to the Bank’s request for information and depending on the details on your record, the Bank may need to treat your account as a reportable account.

What you need to know about the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

What is FATCA?

FATCA is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Its objective is to identify U.S. persons who may evade U.S. taxes by investing through foreign (non-U.S.) accounts -- either directly or indirectly through foreign entities such as corporations and trusts. FATCA is part of the HIRE Act, signed into law on March 18th, 2010 by President Obama. Final FATCA regulations were released in January 2013.

FATCA rationale

The objective of this legislation is to identify U.S. persons who may evade U.S. taxes by placing assets in foreign (non-U.S.) accounts -- either directly or indirectly through certain foreign entities such as corporations or trusts.

Who or what is a U.S. person for U.S. tax purposes?
  • A citizen of the U.S., including an individual born in the U.S. but resident in another country, who has not renounced U.S. citizenship;
  • A lawful resident of the U.S., including a U.S. green card holder;
  • A person residing in the U.S.
  • Certain persons who spend a significant number of days in the U.S. each year.
  • U.S. corporations, U.S. estates and U.S. trusts.
FATCA fundamentals and international tax compliance

In its original form, FATCA would have required foreign (non-U.S.) financial institutions (FFIs) to either:

  • enter into agreements with the IRS and report information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers -- or held by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold an ownership interest -- directly to the IRS, or
  • face punitive U.S. withholding tax on U.S.-source payments.

To address privacy and regulatory concerns related to FATCA, many countries are negotiating intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with the U.S. These IGA "partner countries" will enter into one of two standard model agreements, and implement laws to require financial institutions to collect and report information required by FATCA.

FFIs will comply with FATCA in one of three ways:

1)       In countries with a Model 1 IGA, FFIs will comply under local legislation and report to their local tax authority; in turn, the local tax authority will exchange information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS);

2)       In countries with a Model 2 IGA, FFIs will comply with local legislation to enter into agreements with, and report directly to, the IRS;

3)       In countries without an IGA, FFIs will enter into agreements with, and report directly to the IRS. (A 30% withholding tax will be deducted from U.S. source payments received by FFIs in non-IGA countries if they do not enter into agreements with the IRS.).

ECAB is carefully analyzing the final regulations and IGAs and moving towards compliance globally starting in July 2014. ECAB will continue to update its FATCA information for clients as details are known.

Note: the term U.S. Reportable Account is an account owned by a U.S. individual (person), U.S. entity, or a non-U.S. entity that has U.S. owners -- regardless of the currency of the account itself. FATCA applies to all types of financial accounts, including insurance, investments and business accounts.

What are the consequences to a Foreign Financial Institution of not complying with FATCA?

In countries with intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), FFIs will be required under local legislation to comply.

In non-IGA countries, a 30% U.S. withholding tax will be deducted from U.S.-source payments (and potentially non-U.S. source payments in future) received by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) if they do not enter into FFI Agreements with the IRS. This includes payments received by FFIs either on their own account or on account of their clients.

When will FATCA apply?

FATCA takes effect on July 1st, 2014

Will ECAB comply with FATCA?

ECAB is working through the Antigua Barbuda Bankers' Association and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, other industry organizations and local governments to share issues and concerns with the U.S. Treasury and the IRS. This effort is aimed at managing the implementation and ongoing compliance burden of FATCA and moving towards compliance beginning in July 2014. ECAB's internal FATCA Project team is mobilizing people, processes and technology across the enterprise to meet FATCA requirements. We will provide further information to our impacted clients as required. 

Client FAQs

I am not a U.S. person. What does FATCA mean for me?

In most cases, FATCA should have little impact. If you have an existing account and there is an indication that you may be a U.S. person, or if you are opening a new account, ECAB may ask you to provide additional information, documentation and to sign a disclosure to demonstrate that you are not a U.S. person.

I am a U.S. person. What does FATCA mean for me?

If you are a U.S. person, you may be asked to complete IRS Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification) which will be kept on file at ECAB. Information about you and your account will be reported to the local tax authority or the IRS on an annual basis. If you have complied with all of your U.S. reporting obligations, reporting by ECAB should not result in any increased U.S. tax liability, but you should discuss your personal tax situation with your tax advisor.

I am a U.S. citizen but have not lived in the U.S. for years and do not pay U.S. taxes. Why does this apply to me?

A U.S. citizen who lives outside the U.S. falls within the definition of a U.S. person for U.S. tax purposes, and must file U.S. tax returns. U.S. taxpayers may also have other U.S. reporting obligations. Foreign (non-U.S.) financial institutions will be required to identify the accounts of U.S. persons and report them to their local tax authority or the IRS annually. It is important that you consult with a tax advisor to understand your U.S. reporting obligations.

Where can I find FATCA information provided by the IRS?

For more information about FATCA, please visit the IRS website:

www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Foreign-Account-Tax-Compliance-Act-(FATCA)

Are other financial institutions complying with FATCA?

All financial institutions around the world are subject to the provisions of FATCA.

What authority does ECAB have to provide my account information to the local tax authority or directly to the IRS?

ECAB will only disclose account information where you’ve provided your consent or where required by law, such as disclosure for tax purposes to the local tax authority (e.g. Inland Revenue Department).