Individuals with overseas assets have less than a year to ensure their tax affairs are in order – or they could face “a nasty shock”, warns one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.
The warning from Andrew Oliver, a Senior Area Manager within deVere Group, which has 80,000 mainly expat clients globally, comes ahead of the Automatic Exchange of financial account Information (AEI) being implemented from January 2017.
Mr Oliver comments: “Almost 100 countries across the world have signed up to, or are in the process of doing so, the OECD’s new Common Reporting Standard (CRS).
“Under this new global information-sharing Standard, all participating countries are required to obtain financial information from their financial institutions’ clients and to automatically exchange that information annually with other jurisdictions.
“This exchange should not be a problem for the overwhelming majority of people as they are most likely already compliant. However, there’s a huge lack of awareness of the new system and this is extremely concerning.”
He continues: “The first AEI will relate to financial information from 1st January 2016.
“As such, I would urge anyone who has overseas assets and investments to ensure that their tax affairs are in order and compliant sooner rather than later. Failure to do so could mean that they face a nasty shock in the form of penalties from January next year.
“Ignorance of the new reporting Standard will not be a valid excuse in the eyes of the tax authorities.”
Mr Oliver concludes: “Of course, there will still be a raft of legal, cross-border measures available to mitigate tax burdens. However, people with assets in different jurisdictions will need to ensure that all financial planning strategies are fully compliant with the new Common Reporting Standard.
“Those who are in doubt would be wise to seek specialist cross-border financial advice as soon as possible.”