EU Savings Tax Directive Amendments

Revision to the EU Savings Tax Directive

The EU Commission released a press statement in 2008 regarding its proposed amendment COM/2008/727 PDF document German language English language French language to the original EU Savings Tax Directive 2003/48/EC.

Latest Directive Proposal:
December 2013, The EU Council published final proposal FISC 242 for voting PDF document amending proposal for a Council Directive Directive 2003/48/EC on taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments.

Savings Tax Directive Weaknesses
Amendments to Close Loopholes
bullet The definition of Interest was too narrow. This allowed product providers to build financial instruments that were substitutes of interest or wrapped interest, thereby avoiding Article 6 of the EUSD.

bullet The definition of Paying Agent only related to the final financial institution paying interest to the individual. This allowed Paying Agents to route interest to another Paying Agent outside the EUSD jurisdiction or route payments to an entity or legal arrangement which was not defined as a Paying Agent, avoiding Article 4 of the EUSD.

bullet The definition of Beneficial Owner was defined as individuals directly collecting interest from a Paying Agent. This allowed beneficiaries to collect interest via legal entities or arrangements, thereby avoiding Article 2 of the EUSD. Examples include international business companies, partnerships, trusts, foundations, establishments, etc.



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bullet3 Interest definition has been expanded to all collective investments (such as non-UCITS and hedge funds), capital protected structured products, insurance bonds, some pensions & annuities, derivatives linked to interest, etc. In January 2011, the exemption of most grandfathered bonds automatically expired and the exemption threshold for debt assets within a non-distributing fund was reduced to 25%. The withholding rate increased to 35% in July 2011.

bullet3 Paying Agent will now include entities and legal arrangements managed within the EUSD jurisdiction known as Paying Agent Upon Receipt. Banks will also remain Paying Agents if routing payments to banks outside the territory for a known beneficiary.

bullet3 Beneficial Owner now includes beneficiaries of untaxed entities and legal arrangements, according to the EU anti money-laundering and anti-terrorist financing PDF document directive. For foundations, establishments and discretionary trusts within jurisdiction, the beneficial owner will be deemed as the principal founder / settlor. If impossible to identify the individual who initially funded the arrangement, the foundation / trust within jurisdiction becomes a Paying Agent Upon Distribution who must maintain record of interest collected and apply the EU savings tax on any individual who becomes entitled to the payment within 10 years.
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