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.
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
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
Yes, all Financial Institutions – including banks, insurers and asset management businesses – in participating countries are required to be compliant with FATCA and CRS.
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.
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.
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.
The FATCA and CRS Individual Self-Certification Form will ask you to confirm the following:
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.
In the context of FATCA, a US Person is defined as, among other things:
If you are unsure as to how to determine whether you are a US Person, please consult your tax advisor.
“Substantial Presence Test” means:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reporting Financial Institution (Reporting FI) holding your Account
Equatex UK Limited,Sanne Fiduciary Services Limited
FinTech Group Bank AG
Data to be reported by the Reporting FI under CRS
Reporting FI's name and identifying number
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.