New requirements for financial accounts - Why are we collecting Tax Residency information?
The Australian government has entered into an agreement for the new global standards on the automatic exchange of financial account information. Financial institutions from around the world are required by law to collect and report this information to the tax authorities. These are shared internationally to ensure everyone pays the right amount of tax.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will report the information collected from financial institutions to the overseas Foreign Tax authorities. Similarly, the overseas based financial institutions exchange and share this information on an annual basis.
The laws implemented for the automatic exchange of financial account information to identify and report are known as:
- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), is the United States legislation for customers who may be US residents for taxation purposes.
- Common Reporting Standard (CRS), global initiative for all other countries in the collection of foreign tax residency information for account holders and their associated parties’.
To comply with the legislative and reporting requirements, the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group is required to capture, maintain and check customer tax residency information before an account is opened. This applies to existing customers that might be a tax resident of another country and if this changes at any time.
What does this mean for customers?
These new laws will require you to tell us if you are a tax resident in a foreign country (ies) when opening an account and if this changes. This will apply to:
- the account holder and
- associated parties i.e. beneficial owners and/or controlling persons of an organisation
For individual or entity customers, foreign tax residency refers to a country (ies) where typically you may be liable to pay tax irrespective of whether a tax return must be filed, or any tax is payable.
To comply with these new laws, we may ask you questions about your foreign tax residency. If you are a foreign Tax resident of another county (ies) we will ask for your taxpayer identification number (TIN or its equivalent). This number has been issued to you by that country (ies) and identifies you to the Tax authority in the foreign country. If you are only a tax resident in Australia, you will still be required to confirm your tax residency information.
What do I need to do?
All new customers opening or being added to account will be asked to provide various information such as proof of your identification, country (ies) of tax residence(s), tax identification number/s (or its equivalent) and/or other documentation. Additionally new entity account holders, will be asked about the nature of the business, the tax residence(s) of the entity and for the individuals who control the entity.
For existing individual or entity customers, we may contact you to confirm your country (ies) of tax residence where information indicates that you could be a foreign tax resident.
If we need further information from you, we will contact you asking you to complete our Foreign Tax Details Form together with Foreign Tax Glossary. To obtain a copy of these forms, visit any of our branches or phone our Customer Care Team. You can also use these forms to update your tax residency.
To ensure your customer information is accurate, it is important to respond to any requests and confirm your tax residency status. If you don’t respond, the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank will not be able to open your account for you and may be required to report your account information by law to the relevant tax authority (ies) even though you may not be a tax resident in a foreign county.
What should I do if I’m not sure what to declare?
If you are unsure about your tax residency, please seek professional advice from an independent tax agent or advisor to ensure your personal circumstances are taken into account.
What should I do if I need to update my tax residency details?
Where can I go for further information?
If you are unsure of your tax residency you will need to contact the relevant Tax authority for that country.
For general information and guidance, please refer to the ATO website search for “Common Reporting Standard”.