FAQ on automatic exchange of information for tax purposes
This FAQ will be updated as progress is made and the situation evolves.
- General questions
- What does automatic exchange of information involve?
- Why and how has the Principality of Monaco committed to implementing automatic exchange of information?
- What changes can you expect?
- Which jurisdictions should be considered as reportable jurisdictions for Monaco with respect to automatic exchange?
- Which jurisdictions should be considered as Monaco’s partner jurisdictions with regard to automatic exchange?
- What types of information will be exchanged?
- What documentation should financial institutions resident in Monaco consult when implementing automatic exchange?
- Will the Principality of Monaco be providing residents with a tax identification number?
- Can an individual account holder or a person who controls an entity which holds an account be a tax resident of more than one jurisdiction?
- Is the wider approach applicable in Monaco?
- What options are left to the discretion of reporting financial institutions?
- What sanctions will be applied in the event that financial institutions and/or their client fail to fulfil these obligations?
- Financial institutions
- Mandatory beneficiaries
- Due Diligence Process
- Reporting process
What does automatic exchange of information involve?
The automatic exchange of information involves applying the Common Reporting Standard (CRS).
The CRS was developed by the OECD and approved by the G20 Finance ministers. It is a global standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information, designed to strengthen compliance with tax rules by fighting tax evasion more effectively.
In accordance with the CRS, financial institutions will need to follow standardised procedures to record certain accounts (reportable accounts) held by individuals who, for tax purposes, are residents of reportable jurisdictions or the accounts of certain entities in which such individuals hold shares, and to report information on these accounts to the local tax authorities on an annual basis. The tax authority of each country will then send this information to the jurisdiction in which the account holder is considered to be resident for tax purposes and with which it has concluded a competent authority agreement and consequently is obliged to share such information.
To engage in automatic exchange of information, countries must put in place the appropriate operational processes and formats, as well as a legal framework authorising this type of exchange, such as a bilateral or multilateral agreement or, in the case of the EU, a directive.
The Principality of Monaco has worked to put in place the necessary legislation to move ahead with automatic exchange in 2018, as it has committed to do with both the European Union and the OECD.
More than 100 jurisdictions have already committed to implementing the CRS by 2018.
Since his accession speech in 2005, H.S.H. Prince Albert II has confirmed Monaco’s determination to increase transparency with regard to tax matters. To this end, since 2009 Monaco has been committed to concluding agreements, which meet the standards developed by the OECD. The country has continued to make progress in strengthening the efforts to combat tax evasion and fraud implemented by the OECD World Forum and the European Union.
At the OECD World Forum on 5 November 2013, the Principality announced its commitment to signing the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC), the legal basis for automatic exchange of information. Monaco signed the agreement on 13 October 2014.
In addition to the Multilateral Convention, the OECD World Forum established a new document, the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA), designed to facilitate automatic exchange between signatories. With a view to becoming part of the movement towards strengthening international cooperation on tax matters and demonstrating the country’s willingness to comply with the leading international standards in this area, Monaco signed this Agreement on 15 December 2015.
At the European level, Monaco signed the Amending Protocol to the "Agreement between the European Community and the Principality of Monaco providing equivalent measures to those of the Council Directive 2003/48/CE" on 12 July 2016. This Protocol repeals and replaces the 2005 agreement between Monaco and the EU on the taxation of savings and brings the new Agreement into line with the Common Reporting Standard, in order to enable automatic exchange of information between EU member states and Monaco.
What changes can you expect?
Residents of Monaco only:
- No information regarding your accounts held in Monaco will be exchanged; as part of automatic exchange of information
- Monaco will receive information about any accounts you hold in countries participating in automatic exchange of information with Monaco. This data may be used for income tax purposes and will be subject to a statutory period of limitation. During this period, the data will be stored under optimal security conditions, which meet the highest international standards, audited by the OECD
Residents of a state with which Monaco has agreed to exchange information:
- Information about any financial accounts you hold in Monaco (see question about reportable financial accounts ) will be sent to the tax authorities of your country or countries of residence
Reportable jurisdictions are as follows:
- The member states of the European Union (EU) and Gibraltar, as part of the Amending Protocol to the "Agreement between the European Community and the Principality of Monaco providing equivalent measures to those of the Council Directive 2003/48/CE" negotiated between Monaco and the EU
- Jurisdictions which have signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, relating to the automatic exchange of financial account information and with which the Principality of Monaco has agreed to exchange information automatically
This list is published by ministerial decree and will be updated as new reportable jurisdictions emerge.
In addition to reportable jurisdictions, partner jurisdictions are those with which Monaco has begun negotiations on moving to automatic exchange.
This list is published by ministerial decree and will be updated as new jurisdictions will be partners.
What types of information will be exchanged?
The following types of information must be exchanged as part of the Common Reporting Standard for all reportable accounts:
- Name, address, tax identification number (TIN), date and place of birth  (in the case of an individual)
- Account number
- Name and identifying number of the reporting financial institution
Depending on the type of account, other financial information should be reported:
How will the confidentiality of the information exchanged and the security of exchanges be guaranteed?
Data will be exchanged in accordance with the applicable legal provisions relating to confidentiality and the protection of personal data.
The exchange of data between financial institutions and the Administration for the purposes of automatic exchange will be achieved through the provision of secure, point-to-point communications.
The exchange of data between the Administration and the OECD will be carried out via the OECD’s centralised secure platform, Common Transmission System (CTS).
The legislation below applies to the implementation of automatic exchange of information:
- Acts, Sovereign Ordinances, Ministerial Decree
- OECD publications:
In addition to the texts noted above, the Government has worked with professionals to develop a practical guide more specifically aimed at all Monegasque financial institutions to help them implement the exchange process within their organisations. This practical guide is intended solely for information purposes. Only published legislative and regulatory texts on the automatic exchange of information for tax purposes shall be deemed authentic.
Will the Principality of Monaco be providing residents with a tax identification number?
No, the Principality will not provide tax identification numbers.
Yes. In these circumstances, reporting financial institutions will need to report the information collected to each jurisdiction in which the account holder (individual or manager of an entity) is a tax resident. In this context, a Monaco resident may be a reportable person if he or she is also resident in another reportable jurisdiction for Monaco.
Is the wider approach applicable in Monaco?
The Monegasque financial institutions must apply the wider approach with respect to due diligence (not reporting).
The wider approach involves applying due diligence procedures to all financial accounts opened with reporting Monegasque financial institutions.
The advantage of the wider approach for due diligence procedures is that it means that financial institutions do not have to review their classifications and collect new information if a foreign jurisdiction becomes a reportable jurisdiction.
Monegasque financial institutions are responsible for identifying reportable financial accounts. Only reportable accounts need be reported to the Monegasque authorities.
What options are left to the discretion of reporting financial institutions?
In terms of implementation, the Common Reporting Standard leaves a series of options to the discretion of each jurisdiction. Some of these options are closed due to the fact that Monaco has signed the EU Protocol, which aims to achieve a degree of homogeneity between signatories. The Principality of Monaco has decided to leave the other options open in order to facilitate the work of Monegasque financial institutions and offer them some flexibility.
Monegasque financial institutions can:
- Engage service providers to discharge their reporting and due diligence obligations
- Apply the due diligence procedures for new accounts to pre-existing accounts
- Apply to lower value accounts (<USD 1 million) the due diligence procedures for higher value accounts (>USD 1 million)
- Apply the residence address test or electronic indicia search of files held to pre-existing lower value accounts held by individual account holders
- Opt not to review, identify and report pre-existing entity accounts with a an aggregate account balance or value of USD 250,000 or less
- Apply the alternative procedure for group cash value insurance contracts or group annuity contracts
- Use existing standardised industry coding systems for the due diligence process
- Use the thresholds stated in dollars in the CRS (thresholds have been converted into euros in Monegasque legislation)
- Apply the expanded definition of pre-existing accounts
- Apply the expanded definition of related entities
- Report the discretionary beneficiaries of a trust which is a passive non-financial entity only in years in which they receive a distribution
Monegasque financial institutions are obliged to:
- File nil returns
Monegasque financial institutions are not authorised to:
- Use the alternative approach to calculating account balances
- Use an alternative reporting period
- Gradually phase in reporting of gross sale proceeds
- Apply grandfathering rules for bearer shares issued by exempt collective investment vehicles
Sanctions will be defined in the acts and sovereign ordinances governing automatic exchange.
Reporting Monegasque financial institutions, which do not fulfil their reporting and due diligence obligations, or which file incomplete or inaccurate returns, may be subject to administrative and criminal penalties.
Individuals who intentionally provide a financial institution with an incomplete or inaccurate self-certification, or who do not inform the financial institution of a change in circumstances, may be subject to criminal penalties.
Which financial institutions are required to report information as part of automatic exchange?
Financial institutions, which have a reporting obligation, include not only banks and custodians, but also certain TCSPs (Trust & Corporate Services Providers) and collective investment vehicles. Retirement funds and public pension funds are exempt from reporting obligations.
Special case: management companies
Management companies are, by virtue of their activities, reportable financial institutions. However, since they do not, as a rule, have any accounts to report, they are exempt from reporting obligations.
Special case: trusts
In accordance with the Common Reporting Standard, a trust may fall under various categories of entity, depending on the nature of its activities.
|Classification of trust||
|Person responsible for obligations||
Reportable accounts include accounts held by individuals, some entities and certain investment vehicles, which includes some trusts and certain Monegasque non-trading companies. The Common Reporting Standard includes a requirement to look through passive entities in order to identify and report on the individuals who control these entities.
No accounts are excluded in Monaco, beyond those already excluded in the Common Reporting Standard:
- Retirement and pension accounts
- Tax favoured accounts other than retirement accounts
- Temporary life insurance policies
- Estate accounts
- Escrow accounts
- Deposit accounts with unreturned overpayments
Due Diligence Process
What due diligence procedures must reporting financial institutions follow to identify reportable accounts?
The Common Reporting Standard sets out a solid body of due diligence procedures which reporting financial institutions must follow in order to determine reportable accounts and obtain the required identification information from account holders for these accounts.
These procedures distinguish between accounts held by individuals and entity accounts, and between pre-existing and new accounts, recognising that it is more difficult and costly for financial institutions to obtain information from existing account holders than at the time of opening an account.
|Accounts held by individuals||Entity accounts|
(Accounts opened before 1 January 2017)
(Accounts opened after 1 January 2017)
Do the tax identification number or date of birth for pre-existing accounts need to be declared if they are not noted in the records of the reporting financial institution?
No. However, the reporting financial institution must make reasonable efforts to obtain these details by the end of the second calendar year following identification of pre-existing accounts as reportable accounts.
How will the reporting process work and what timescales are involved?
The competent authorities will exchange information according to a secure IT schema, on an annual basis, in the nine months following the end of the relevant calendar year, i.e. before 30 September of the year following the relevant year.
In Monaco, financial institutions will need to apply the due diligence rules for identifying reportable accounts from 1 January 2017, with a view to sending information to the tax authorities starting in 2018. Each year, reporting Monegasque financial institutions will have until 30 June to send information relating to the previous year. The first exchanges of information with reportable jurisdictions will take place before 30 September 2018.
How does the reporting platform work?
A user guide will be sent to professionals involved in the process in 2017.
What schema should financial institutions use to prepare and report information to be shared under automatic exchange?
Financial institutions should use the XML schema published by the OECD, which can be found on the Automatic Exchange of Information portal on the OECD website.
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