Regulatory Information

FATCA/CRS EXPLAINED WITH
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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The financial institutions, which maintain the accounts where plan participants’ portfolio assets are held, are subject to international tax regulations like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS). These tax regulations require Equatex, as a share plan administrator, to collect certain personal information from our plan participants and potentially to report this information, along with details about accounts.

If you have been asked to complete our combined FATCA/CRS form, you may have some questions about it. Therefore, we have created this FAQ page providing you with information about FATCA and CRS tax legislation, as well as about self-certification, the reporting process and the consequences of non-compliance.

Please note that the Equatex contact centre agents will not be able to assist you with the completion of the tax forms, nor provide any kind of tax advice or guidance as to how to fill them in. In case you need further assistance, please contact your tax advisor.

 

Frequently asked questions on FATCA and CRS

1: FATCA & CRS legislation and applicability

What is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)?

FATCA stands for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and is a legislation designed to prevent tax evasion.

Introduced by the United States Department of Treasury and the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the purpose of FATCA is to encourage better tax compliance by preventing US Persons from using foreign banks and other financial organizations in order to avoid US taxation on their income and assets.

You can find more information about FATCA on the IRS website: www.irs.gov

 

What is the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)?

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS), introduced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is a new information-gathering and reporting requirement for Financial Institutions in participating countries. Its aim is to help fight tax evasion and to protect the integrity of participating countries’ tax systems.

You can find more information about the CRS on the OECD website: www.oecd.org

 

Are all Financial Institutions bound by FATCA and CRS?

Yes, all Financial Institutions – including banks, insurers and asset management businesses – in participating countries are required to be compliant with FATCA and CRS.

2: Self-certification process

What is FATCA and CRS self-certification?

Self-certification is the process whereby a Financial Institution asks their Account Holders to certify a number of details about themselves in order to determine their tax domicile(s). We are required to collect this information from you under both FATCA and CRS.

 

Why do I need to complete a self-certification form?

Equatex, like all Financial Institutions, is required to collect and report certain information relating to their Account Holders’ (plan participants) tax statuses.

As a participant in an employee share plan, you can hold assets which may be subject to FATCA and/or CRS reporting, and we therefore may have to ask you to certify a number of details about yourself.

 

How does self-certification work in EquatePlus?

To self-certify, we will ask you to fill out the combined FATCA and CRS Individual Self-Certification Form available on EquatePlus and EquateMobile.

Please follow the instructions on the form closely and make sure you fill in all required information. If you have questions while filling out the form, please contact your tax advisor.

Also please note that we can only accept online submissions of the self-certification form either through EquatePlus or EquateMobile. We cannot accept paper submissions nor submissions via our Contact Centre.

In addition, if any of the information in our system suggest you might be a US Person (from a Tax point of view), you may be required to fill in an additional W8/W9 form.

 

What information will I need to provide in the self-certification form?

The FATCA and CRS Individual Self-Certification Form will ask you to confirm the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your country, town/city of birth
  • Your citizenship
  • Your current residence, and if applicable mailing, address
  • Whether you are a US Person (see the definition of a US Person below)
  • Your country/countries of residence for tax purposes
  • Your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN or local functional equivalent) or reason why there is no TIN available

 

Where can I find information about the local equivalent of a TIN in my country?

For details about the Taxpayer Identification Number in your country, please consult your professional tax advisor or visit the section on Tax Identification Numbers within the OECD CRS portal.

 

How do I know if I am a US Person?

In the context of FATCA, a US Person is defined as, among other things:

  • A citizen of, or a resident in, the United States
  • A holder of a valid US Green Card
  • A person who passes the “Substantial Presence Test”

If you are unsure as to how to determine whether you are a US Person, please consult your tax advisor.

 

Substantial Presence Test” means:

  • That you have been physically present in the US 183 days or more in the current calendar year
    OR
  • That you have been physically present in the US 183 days or more over the last three calendar years, to be calculated as follows:
    31 days or more in the current calendar year
    + the number of days physically present in the US last year divided by 3
    + the number of days physically present in the US the year before last divided by 6

Example: If you have resided in the US for 35 days in the current calendar year, 120 days last year and 120 days the year before, this is how the calculation would look like:

35 + 40 [i.e., 120 ÷ 3] + 20 [i.e., 120 ÷ 6] = 95

In this example, for US tax purposes you would not be deemed to have been physically present in the US for 183 days or more over the last three calendar years.

 

In addition, if your account shows any of the following, we may request further information or documentation to determine if you are a US Person under FATCA:

  • US citizenship or US residence.
  • US place of birth.
  • US address, including US PO boxes.
  • US telephone number.
  • Payment instructions to a US address or an account maintained in the US.

 

What happens if I don’t complete the self-certification form and/or any other required documentation?

We are committed to being fully FATCA and CRS compliant wherever we operate. Therefore, if we do not obtain all the necessary documentation to enable the determination of your FATCA and CRS status:

  • We may not be able to open an account for you (hold your plan assets), or we might have to restrict certain EquatePlus functionality available to you, e.g., you may not be able to place a trade.
  • We may need to report your personal details based on the information available, as well as the information regarding your Financial Account to the respective tax authorities.
  • We may be required to apply back up withholding at a rate of 24% on any transactions that take place on your Account.

 

What should I do if no form relating to FATCA or CRS is available in the system?

If no FATCA or CRS form is available to you in EquatePlus, it indicates that no action is required from you at this time: We have either already collected the necessary information from you as Account Holder, or we believe there is no need for you to fill out any tax self-certification form at this moment.

Please note that changes in your personal circumstances, or in the plans you participate in, might lead to your needing to self-certify in the future.

 

I already completed the self-certification and/or the W8/W9 forms – why are you asking me for additional information/documentation?

We are required by law to verify the details you have provided as part of your self-certification.

In certain cases where the information you provided conflicts with the information we have on file, or we have reason to believe it is not correct, we might need to ask you for additional documentation or information to ensure we have correctly determined your tax status.

 

I am domiciled in the same country where my account is held and I am not a US Person – why do I need to give you these details?

Under both CRS and FATCA regimes, we are legally required to establish the tax residency status of all our Account Holders. Therefore the self-certification due diligences are applicable to you even if you are domiciled and tax resident in the same country where your account is held and even if you are not a US Person.

However, in such cases your details will typically not be reportable to the relevant tax authorities.

 

I no longer hold any plan instruments in my account. Am I still required to complete the FATCA and CRS self-certification form?

Yes, if you held plan instruments in a plan that is relevant for FATCA/CRS purposes in the past, you still need to complete the FATCA and CRS self-certification form in EquatePlus, as well as any additional documentation that is required from you.

Equatex may be required to report certain information to the relevant tax authorities for the period in which you held and then sold or transferred your plan instruments.

 

Where can I find more information about FATCA and CRS self-certification?

Information about how to complete self-certification is available directly on the FATCA and CRS Individual Self-Certification Form in EquatePlus and EquateMobile.

For further information on your tax residency, please refer to the rules governing tax residence that have been published by each national tax authority.

 

Important information about the Equatex Contact Centre:

Please note that the Equatex Contact Centre agents will not be able to assist you with the completion of the tax forms, nor provide any kind of tax advice or guidance as to how to fill them in. In case you need further assistance please contact your tax advisor.

However, if you experience any kind of technical issue during the self-certification process, you can raise this with the Contact Centre.

3: FATCA & CRS Reporting

What information is being reported to the Tax authorities and how?

Reporting Financial Institution (Reporting FI) holding your Account

Equatex AG

Equatex UK Limited,

Sanne Fiduciary Services Limited

FinTech Group Bank AG

Jurisdiction

Switzerland

UK

Germany

Data to be reported by the Reporting FI under CRS

Reporting FI's name and identifying number
Personal details such as full name, address, date of birth, place of birth, citizenship, jurisdiction(s) of tax residence, Tax Identification Number(s) or local equivalent.

Information regarding your Financial Account(s) including the account reference number, account balance, or value, and the total amount of any payments of dividends, interest, other income and gross proceeds made, or credited, to the account.

Transfer of Data for CRS reporting purposes

By Equatex AG to Swiss Tax authorities, which may exchange it with any partner Reportable Jurisdiction where the Account Holder (You) is tax resident. Such partner Reportable Jurisdictions must treat your Data as confidential and may only use it to monitor your tax compliance and/or for other tax purposes only.

By Equatex UK Limited (or Sanne Fiduciary Services Limited) to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which may exchange it with any Reportable Jurisdiction where the Account Holder is tax resident

By Fintech Group to local German Tax authorities, which may exchange it with any Reportable Jurisdiction where the Account Holder is tax resident

Data to be reported by the Reporting FI under FATCA

Reporting FI's name and identifying number
Personal details such as full name, address, US Tax Identification Number.

Information regarding your Financial Account(s) including the account balance, or value, and the total amount of any payments of dividends, interest, other income and gross proceeds made, or credited, to the account.

Transfer of Data for FATCA reporting purposes

By Equatex AG to the US Internal Revenue System (IRS)

By Equatex UK Limited (or Sanne Fiduciary Services Limited) to HMRC, which will  send it on to the IRS

By Fintech Group to the local German Tax authorities, which will  send it on to the IRS

Will you respect my data privacy rights?

Your data privacy rights will be respected to the extent that they do not conflict with our legal obligations as a Financial Institution to report your data under FATCA and/or CRS regimes. Note that this is standard practice within the financial industry.

Equatex, as well as its affiliates and third party service providers are bound by applicable data protection laws.

If the Reporting Financial Institution holding your Account is Equatex AG, please note that your rights are protected by Swiss Data Protection Law and the Swiss CRS Law.

4: Additional information on FATCA

What does FATCA mean for me if I am a US Person?

If we identify you as a US Person, you may be asked to supply us with additional information or documentation.

In addition, we might be obliged to report your personal details, as well as the information regarding your Financial Account(s) – including the account balance, or value, and the total amount of any payments of dividends, interest, other income and gross proceeds made, or credited, to the account – to the local tax authority or the IRS on an annual basis. And we may be required to apply back-up withholding (BUW) at a rate of 24% on any transactions that take place on your Account.

You may also wish to visit the IRS website to determine if you need to complete and submit any additional IRS forms.

 

What does FATCA mean for me if I am not a US Person?

For most participants, FATCA has minimal impact and there will be no action required, besides having to complete the Form.

However, we may still contact you to confirm your status as a non-US Person, in particular we may require additional documentation if we have reason to believe you are a US Person for FATCA purposes.

 

Does FATCA replace other tax reporting obligations that I already meet?

FATCA does not replace the existing US tax regime, it may however add additional requirements and complexity to the existing US tax rules you may already follow. We recommend that you contact a professional tax advisor to discuss your personal tax situation.

5: Additional information on CRS

Which countries participate in CRS?

For a list of countries participating in the CRS, along with the dates when they will start exchanging information, please see the OECD CRS portal.

 

Does CRS replace other tax reporting obligations that I already follow?

CRS does not replace local tax regimes, it may however add additional requirements and complexity to any existing local tax rules you may already follow. We recommend that you contact a professional tax advisor to discuss your personal tax situation.