Optional Provisions



Reporting Requirements (Section I to the CRS)

1. Alternative approach to calculating account balances.
A jurisdiction that already requires Financial Institutions to report the average balance or value of the account may provide for the reporting of average balance or value instead of the reporting of the account balance or value as of the end of the calendar year or other reporting period. This option is likely only desirable to a jurisdiction that has provided for the reporting of average balance or value in its FATCA IGA. The EU Directive does not provide for the reporting of average balance or value.
2. Use of other reporting period.
A jurisdiction that already requires Financial Institutions to report information based on a designated reporting period other than the calendar year may provide for the reporting based on such reporting period. This option is likely only desirable to a jurisdiction that includes (or will include) a reporting period other than a calendar year in its FATCA implementing legislation. The period between the most recent contract anniversary date and the previous contract anniversary date (e.g. in the case of a Cash Value Insurance Contract), and a fiscal year other than the calendar year, would generally be considered appropriate reporting periods. The EU Directive allows a jurisdiction to designate a reporting period other than a calendar year.
3. Phasing in the requirement to report gross proceeds.
A jurisdiction may provide for the reporting of gross proceeds to begin in a later year. If this option is provided a Reporting Financial Institution would report all the information required with respect to a Reportable Account. This will allow Reporting Financial Institutions additional time to implement systems and procedures to capture gross proceeds for the sale or redemption of Financial Assets. This option is contained in the Model FATCA IGAs, with reporting required beginning in 2016 and thus Financial Institutions may not need additional time for reporting of gross proceeds for the CRS. The MCAA and the EU Directive do not provide this option.
4. Filing of nil returns.
A jurisdiction may require the filing of a nil return by a Reporting Financial Institution to indicate that it did not maintain any Reportable Accounts during the calendar year or other reporting period. The Model FATCA IGAs do not require nil returns but this could be required by local law.

Due Diligence (Section II-VII of the CRS)

5. Allowing third party service providers to fulfill the obligations on behalf of the financial institutions.
A jurisdiction may allow Reporting Financial Institutions to use service providers to fulfil the Reporting Financial Institution’s reporting and due diligence obligations. The Reporting Financial Institution remains responsible for fulfilling these requirements and the actions of the service provider are imputed to the Reporting Financial Institution. This option is available for FATCA. The EU Directive includes this option.
6. Allowing the due diligence procedures for New Accounts to be used for Preexisting Accounts.
A jurisdiction may allow a Financial Institution to apply the due diligence procedures for New Accounts to Preexisting Accounts. This means, for example, a Financial Institution may elect to obtain a self certification for all Preexisting accounts held by individuals consistent with the due diligence procedures for New Individual Accounts.

If a jurisdiction allows a Financial Institution to apply the due diligence procedures for New Accounts to Preexisting Accounts, a jurisdiction may allow a Reporting Financial Institution to make an election to apply such exclusion with respect to
  1. all Pre-existing Accounts, or
  2. with respect to any clearly identified group of such accounts (such as by line of business or location where the account is maintained).
This option may also be applied under FATCA and the EU Directive.
7. Allowing the due diligence procedures for High Value Accounts to be used for Lower Value Accounts.
A jurisdiction may allow a Financial Institution to apply the due diligence procedures for High Value Accounts to Lower Value Accounts. A Financial Institution may wish to make such election because otherwise they must apply the due diligence procedure for Lower Value Accounts and then at the end of a subsequent calendar year when the account balance of value exceeds $1 million, apply the due diligence procedures for High Value Accounts. This option may also be applied under FATCA and the EU Directive.
8. Residence address test for Lower Value Accounts.
A jurisdiction may allow Financial Institutions to determine an Account Holder’s residence based on the residence address provided by the account holder so long as the address is current and based on Documentary Evidence. The residence address test may apply to Preexisting Lower Value Accounts (less than $1 million) held by Individual Account Holders. This test is an alternative to the electronic indicia search for establishing residence and if the residence address test cannot be applied, because, for example, the only address on file is an “in-care-of” address, the Financial Institution must perform the electronic indicia search. The residence address test option is not available for FATCA. The EU Directive includes the residence address test.
9. Optional Exclusion from Due Diligence for Preexisting Entity Accounts of less than $250,000.
A jurisdiction may allow Financial Institutions to exclude from its due diligence procedures pre-existing Entity Accounts with an aggregate account balance or value of $250,000 or less as of a specified date. If, at the end of a subsequent calendar year, the aggregate account balance or value exceeds $250,000, the Financial Institution must apply the due diligence procedures to identify whether the account is a Reportable Account. If this option is not adopted, a Financial Institution must apply the due diligence procedures to all Preexisting Entity Accounts. A similar exception exists for FATCA, however, FATCA allows the review to be delayed until the aggregate account balance or value exceeds $1 million. This option is foreseen by the EU Directive.
10. Alternative documentation procedure for certain employer sponsored group insurance contracts or annuity contracts.
With respect to a group cash value insurance contract or annuity contract that is issued to an employer and individual employees, a jurisdiction may allow a Reporting Financial Institution to treat such contract as a Financial Account that is not a Reportable Account until the date on which an amount is payable to an employee/certificate holder or beneficiary provided that certain conditions are met. These conditions are:
  1. the group cash value insurance contract or group annuity contract is issued to an employer and covers twenty-five or more employees/certificate holders;
  2. The employees/certificate holders are entitled to receive any contract value related to their interest and to name beneficiaries for the benefit payable upon the employee's death; and
  3. the aggregate amount payable to any employee/certificate holder or beneficiary does not exceed $1 million. This provision is provided because the Financial Institution does not have a direct relationship with the employee/certificate holder at inception of the contract and thus may not be able to obtain documentation regarding their residence. This option is not contained in the FATCA IGA but may be available through adopting the due diligence procedures of the US FATCA regulations. The EU Directive includes this option.
11. Allowing financial institutions to make greater use of existing standardised industry coding systems for the due diligence process.
A jurisdiction may define documentary evidence to include any classification in the Reporting Financial Institution’s records based on a standard industry coding system provided that certain conditions are met. With respect to a pre-existing entity account, when a Financial Institution is applying its due diligence procedures and accordingly required to maintained a record of documentary evidence, this option would permit the Financial Institution to rely on the standard industry code contained in its records. This option is not contained in the FATCA IGAs, but similar requirements may be adopted for FATCA by using the definition of documentary evidence in the US FATCA regulations. This option is contained in the EU Directive.
12. Currency translation.
All amounts in the Standard are stated in US dollars and the Standard provides for the use of equivalent amounts in other currencies as provided by domestic law. For example, a lower value account is an account with an aggregate account balance or value of less than $1 million. The Standard permits jurisdictions to include amounts that are equivalent (or approximately equivalent) in their currency to the US dollars amounts as part of their domestic legislation. Further, a jurisdiction may allow a Financial Institution to apply the US dollar amount or the equivalent amounts. This allows a multinational Financial Institution to apply the amounts in the same currency in all jurisdictions in which they operate. Both these options are available for FATCA. The EU Directive allows for this option.

Definitions (Section VIII of the CRS))

13. Expanded definition of Pre-existing Account.
A jurisdiction may, by modifying the definition of Preexisting Account, allow a Financial Institution to treat certain new accounts held by pre-existing customers as a Preexisting Account for due diligence purposes. A customer is treated as pre-existing if it holds a Financial Account with the Reporting Financial Institution or a Related Entity. Thus, if a pre-existing customer opens a new account, the Financial Institution may rely on the due diligence procedures it (or its Related Entity) applied to the customer’s Preexisting Account to determine whether the account is a Reportable Account. A requirement for applying this rule is that the Reporting Financial Institution must be permitted to satisfy its AML/KYC procedures for such account by relying on the AML/KYC performed for the Preexisting Account and the opening of the account does not require new, additional, or amended customer information. This option is not contained in the FATCA IGAs, but similar requirements may be adopted for FATCA by using the definition of pre-existing account in the US FATCA regulations. The EU Directive includes this option.
14. Expanded definition of Related Entity.
Related Entities are generally defined as one entity that controls another entity or two or more entities that are under common control. Control is defined to include direct or indirect ownership of more than 50 percent of the vote and value in an Entity. As provided in the Commentary, most funds will likely not qualify as a Related Entity of another fund, and thus will not be able to apply the rules described above for treating certain New Accounts as Pre-existing Accounts or apply the account aggregation rules to Financial Accounts maintained by Related Entities. A jurisdiction may modify the definition of Related Entity so that a fund will qualify as a Related Entity of another fund by providing that control includes, with respect to Investment Entities described in subparagraph (A)(6)(b), two entities under common management, and such management fulfills the due diligence obligations of such Investment Entities. A similar approach can be achieved under FATCA by applying the Sponsoring Regime. The EU Directive also provides this modification.
15. Grandfathering rule for bearer shares issued by Exempt Collective Investment Vehicle.
With respect to an Exempt Collective Investment Vehicle, a jurisdiction may provide a grandfathering rule if the jurisdiction previously allowed collective investment vehicles to issue bearer shares. The Standard provides that a collective investment vehicle that has issued physical shares in bearer form will not fail to qualify as an Exempt Collective Investment Vehicle provided that:
  1. it has not issued and does not issue any physical shares in bearer form after the date provided by the jurisdiction;
  2. it retires all such shares upon surrender;
  3. it performs the due diligence procedures and reports with respect to such shares when presented for payment; and
  4. it has in place policies and procedures to ensure the shares are redeemed or immobilized as soon as possible and in any event prior to the date provided by the jurisdiction.
FATCA contains this option and includes 31 December 2012 as the date after which bearer shares can no longer be issued and 1 January 2017 as the date to ensure redemption or immobilization. The EU Directive contains this option and includes 31 December 2015 as the date after which bearer shares can no longer be issued and 1 January 2018 as the date to ensure redemption or immobilization.
16. Controlling Persons of a trust.
With respect to trusts that are Passive NFEs, a jurisdiction may allow Reporting Financial Institutions to align the scope of the beneficiary(ies) of a trust treated as Controlling Person(s) of the trust with the scope of the beneficiary(ies) of a trust treated as Reportable Persons of a trust that is a Financial Institution. In such case the Reporting Financial Institutions would only need to report discretionary beneficiaries in the year they receive a distribution from the trust. Jurisdictions allowing their Financial Institutions to make use of this option must ensure that such Financial Institutions have appropriate safeguards and procedures in place to identify whether a distribution is made by their trust Account Holders in a given year. The EU Directive does not contain this option.