Common Reporting Standard
Since July 1, 2017, the Common Reporting Standard requires financial institutions to gather and disclose certain information to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with respect to reportable accounts for which the account holder has tax residency in a jurisdiction other than Canada or the United States.
Preventing Tax Evasion
The guidelines found in this international standard have been included in the Income Tax Act (ITA) and are intended to prevent tax evasion. By applying this standard, Canada joins forces with approximately one hundred tax authorities worldwide committed to recording reportable accounts and automatically exchanging information regarding financial accounts.
This standard, drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has been approved by the G20 Ministers of Finance.
What does "tax residency" mean?
Tax residency is a status that would subject a person to taxes in a given jurisdiction.
A common misconception is that the civic address of an individual or an entity determines their country of tax residency. However, residency for tax purposes is based on a complex set of criteria. In fact, an individual or an entity may have tax residency in more than one country.
The Bank must ask all individuals, businesses and other entities to declare their(s) country(ies) of residence for tax purposes when opening an account, whether it is a bank account, an investment account or an insurance policy. The Bank may ask you to provide certain documents and information in order to comply with CRA requirements.
For legal reasons, financial institutions and their clients must disclose the required information set out in the new standard. Clients who refuse to comply may be subject to penalties under the law and may have their account reported to the CRA.
Any change in a client's residency status for tax purposes must also be reported to the Bank within 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of documentation provided.
Applying the Standard
The Bank gathers the required information to comply with legislation on identifying reportable accounts.
The Bank will send this information to the CRA through an annual reporting.
The CRA will then share this information with the tax authority of the country where the account holder (whether an individual, business or other entity) is a tax resident.
This information is only exchanged between tax authorities of jurisdictions that signed the multilateral competent authority agreement for the automatic exchange of information.
What is a "reportable account"?
A "reportable account" is any financial account held by an individual, a business or most entities with tax residency within a jurisdiction subject to the new standard.
- Bank accounts
- Guaranteed investment certificate (GIC)
- Personal lines of credit accounts
- Mortgage lines of credit
- Mutual funds
- Some life insurance policies
- Securities brokerage accounts
- Custodial accounts
- Annuity contracts (including segregated fund contracts)
- Most plans registered with the CRA (including RRSPs, RRIFs, RESPs, RPPs, PRPPs and RDSPs)
- TFSAs, estate and escrow accounts.
Is the Common Reporting Standard the same thing as the American Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)?
The Common Reporting Standard follows the same principles as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a U.S. law regarding tax reporting for accounts held abroad by U.S. persons. Since July 1, 2014, the ITA has required financial Institutions to identify accounts where the holder has U.S. tax residency, a status which specifically includes American citizens. Financial institutions are then required to send this information to the CRA, who in turn passes it on to U.S. tax authorities.
For an account holder that is a U.S. tax resident only, it is still the portion of the ITA relating to FATCA that takes precedence when it comes to the reporting of U.S. accounts by Canadian financial institutions.
With the Common Reporting Standard, Canadian financial institutions must gather information on accounts held by individuals and entities whose tax residency is outside of the United States and Canada, and send it to the CRA. The CRA will then pass on the information to the appropriate tax authorities.
Learn more about FATCA regulations.
Will my personal information be shared securely?
The information collected cannot be used for any other purpose than to report accounts to the CRA in compliance with the new standard. The local authorities of the country of tax residency are also bound to ensure confidentiality.
Can Bank employees provide me with advice on a given tax jurisdiction?
Regulations governing tax residency are complex and vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next. Employees of Canadian financial institutions are not allowed to provide tax advice in this area.
For more information on tax residency status, visit the OECD website.
Need More Information?
Visit the OECD website.
Other useful links
- Canadian Bankers Association
- Department of Finance Canada
- Canada Revenue Agency – Enhanced financial account information reporting
- United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Common Reporting Standard