In September 2017, a significant event for financial institutions around the world took place - the first automatic exchange of information for tax purposes in accordance with the CRS (Common Reporting Standard). The source of information exchange were banks, as well as other financial institutions (pension funds, investment and insurance companies, etc.). The second large group of countries is also joining the process of automatic information exchange in 2018.
CRS provides for an annual automatic exchange of tax information between Member States of the Multilateral Cooperation Convention between the competent authorities on automatic information exchange under the CRS (MCAA Convention).
The exchange of information on accounts of legal entities and natural persons will be made automatically, annually and on the principle of residency (in contrast to the FATCA law, which uses the principle of citizenship).
The essence of the exchange is that banks collect information on financial activities on corporate accounts of the companies, individual accounts of natural persons, private funds and trusts, and then transfer it to the tax authorities of their country, which send this...
Back in the first quarter of 2018, namely on February 19, 2018, a draft of advisory document was published on the official website of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which called on all interested parties to join the discussion on the OECD strategy for combating the loopholes on using the Common Reporting Standard (CRS, Single standard of tax information exchange) in the “citizenship by the investment” (CBI - granting citizenship in exchange for investments) and “residence by the investment” (RBI - granting a residence permit in exchange for investments). To date, more than 70 jurisdictions in the world offer these schemes.
On April 17, 2018, a 96-page document was published on the OECD website (PUBLIC INPUT RECEIVED ON MISUSE OF RESIDENCE BY INVESTMENT SCHEMES TO CIRCUMVENT THE COMMON REPORTING STANDARD), which, in fact, summarized the first results of the discussion and the contents of the official letters to the organization. More than 20 structures were the speakers, including:
AFME office in London (Association of Financial Markets in Europe, it brings together the largest agents in the capital markets in the region);
After the approval of the agreed text by the Parliament on April 19, 2018, the European Council adopted a Directive on 14 May, 2018, regulating the European rules aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorism funding. These rules are the fifth in a series and the latest update of the European Anti-Money Laundering Directive, for which they have received the name 5AMLD.
5AMLD is aimed at improving the security in Europe by stopping the financing of criminal activities without preventing the normal functioning of payment systems. It is partly a response to the terrorist attacks in Europe in 2016 and introduces such major changes into the directive 2015/849:
verification of the client for virtual currencies;
public access to information about the real owners of companies;
strengthening of transaction checks with the participation of third countries with a high level of risk;
cooperation between financial intelligence units;
reduction of the threshold for identification of owners of prepaid cards from 250 to 150 Euro;
extension of the Directive to all tax advisers, agents, dealers, as well as suppliers of electronic wallets and cryptocurrency...
Until recently, offshore companies have been actively used by the Ukrainian entrepreneurs in international trade to reduce the tax burden and keep business confidentiality. We will consider in this blog whether the situation has changed in the conditions of global deoffshorization, and in particular, tightening of the Ukrainian legislation.
The field of trade has always been the simplest and most popular for offshore applications. One of the main goals of using offshore schemes in export-import transactions was to regulate the customs value of the goods, and, accordingly, the company’s trading profits. Offshore companies in such schemes were used as intermediaries between the seller and the buyer for the understatement of the value of goods during the export and overstatement - upon import.
However, the process of deoffshorization has reached our country. The provisions for the control of transfer pricing started working in the Ukrainian legislation. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved and periodically reviews the list of the countries with preferential taxation (it includes both classic offshores and jurisdictions, the income tax rate for the companies which have 5 or more...
Essence of the scandal
On April 29, a publication on the use of thousands of SLP in criminal activities appeared in the British newspaper The Times. According to the British officials, SLP was used through shills in complex schemes for money laundering. In particular, by means of the scheme, including more than 100 Scottish Limited Partnerships, about 58 billion pounds sterling, accumulated illegally, was withdrawn from Russia. More than 20 SLP was used in a fraudulent scheme, by means of which about 742 billion pounds sterling was withdrawn from Moldova. There is also a link between SLP and organized criminal groups from Eastern Europe for the purpose of conducting weapon delivery deals.
All this became a reason for the announcement of the beginning of struggle against fictitious companies by Britain. And on the next day, April 30, a consultative document was posted on the official website of the British government with a number of proposals on reforming the legislation on limited partnerships to reduce the risks of their use in criminal schemes.
Importance of Limited Partnerships
It is worth noting that a Limited Partnership (LP), including its Scottish form, continues to...
The newspaper “Journal du Dimanche” previously published information about the intentions of the French President Francois Hollande to hold a meeting with the leaders of Germany, Spain and Italy on March 6 in Versailles, dedicated to the future of the European Union. This mini-summit, among other things, should have to demonstrate the unity of the leaders of the four major European powers of the euro zone in the face of the many threats and crises that the EU is currently facing. The agenda also included the study of the issues “related to ensuring the strengthening of the development of the European Union”.
On March 6, the government supported the changes to the Law on the Financial Instruments Market, the Law on Alternative Investment Funds and their Managers, as well as the Audit Services Act. What is the ultimate goal of these changes? They should make the EU financial market more transparent and stable, reduce systematic risks, protect depositors, and ensure the effectiveness of financial markets and reduce the costs of their participants. The changes in the laws have been designed to adopt the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the markets of...
Following the introduction of a public register of persons with significant control for the British companies and LLP (from April 2016), as well as for the Scottish partnerships (since June 2017), some British dependent territories, under pressure from the UK itself, have created similar registers / databases. However, these centralized registers will be closed, and the access to data from them will be available only to the British competent authorities and only upon request. This decision has become a compromise after many years of negotiations and frictions, since the overseas territories, although partially subject to the law of Great Britain, are still self-regulatory. On the one hand, access to these closed registers / databases will enable the UK law enforcement agencies to monitor tax evasion, as well as terrorists and criminals hiding behind the anonymous companies. On the other hand, this will put an end to the requirements for the introduction of open registers of beneficiaries in the countries partially controlled by Great Britain. Among such states are the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Bermuda, Guernsey, Jersey, and others. As the British...
What is important to know when choosing a foreign bank in 2018
Recently, an increasing number of citizens, concerned about their future, the future of their family or business, face the issue whether it is possible to open an account in a foreign bank and what is required for this? Which bank to choose for this: European, offshore bank, etc.? Historically, (and sometimes it is quite justified) the trust to a foreign bank is higher than to local institutions, and obtaining, for example, a loan is possible on more favorable terms than in Ukrainian banks, moreover, many people wish to keep the confidentiality of their actual income.
Regardless of whether you want to open a foreign bank account online in offshore or onshore jurisdictions, a number of aspects need to be considered and analyzed when choosing a bank. That is why the company Finance Business Service works with more than 100 banks around the world. We ask only really necessary questions in the process of selecting banks for our clients.
The current situation in the banking shows that financial institutions are increasingly facing problems of unexpected loss of correspondent accounts in US dollars. In general, the US is...
The Cyprus holding companies are widely used in the context of international business structuring for the optimization of the channels of incoming and outgoing investment in/from the countries that have signed an agreement with Cyprus on avoidance of double taxation. Recently, the Tax Department has published a guide to VAT accounting for holding companies, which is designed to provide clarity with respect to the circumstances under which the Cyprus holding companies can receive taxable income.
Definition of taxable activities
The common position and practice regarding the regime for levying VAT on dividends remain unchanged. The simple acquisition and ownership of shares in other companies by a Cypriot company does not constitute a taxable business activity in the sense of exploiting assets for income generation. The reason for this approach is that the dividends received from such ownership of shares are considered to arise solely at the expense of ownership of shares, rather than from the form of business activity carried out for the purpose of income generation. Consequently, an enterprise that simply owns shares or a similar form of a stake in another organization is not...
In a press release of January 29, 2018, the Council of Europe announced the second set of additional directives on the negotiations detailing the position of the EU-27 (27 EU Members without the UK) regarding the transition period with respect to Brexit. These directives give the Commission the authority to initiate discussions with the UK on the terms of Brexit and establish a transition period, no longer than until December 31, 2020.
During the transition period in the UK, full and constant application of the EU legislation is provided. However, the state will no longer participate in the EU administration and the decision-making process.
On January 30, 2018, the EU Commission published a document warning the companies of the key challenges in the customs and VAT that they will have to be overcome when the United Kingdom is not a Member of the EU. If no other transition period is agreed between the EU and the UK, the European Customs and VAT regulations in the UK will no longer apply from March 30, 2019, as the UK officially announced its intention to leave the EU on March 29, 2017. This document provides a brief overview of the customs and VAT implications that will arise...