Regulatory Information

SELF-CERTIFYING YOUR TAX STATUS
FOR FATCA AND CRS

Information for share plan members on the international tax reporting regime

identifiable records
Question mark in roundel

As a Regulated Financial Institution, we Equatex AG must comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS). These tax regulations require share plan administrators to collect certain personal information from their plan participants relating to their tax status and potentially report this, along with their account details, to relevant tax authorities.

If you have been asked to complete our combined CRS & FATCA Self-certification form, you may have some questions about it. Our FAQ page aims to answer any questions you may have regarding the FATCA and CRS tax legislation, the self-certification and reporting process and the consequences of not completing your self-certification.

Please note that our call 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 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 an information-gathering and reporting requirement for Financial Institutions in participating countries. Similar to FATCA, 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 in participating countries are required to be compliant with FATCA and CRS.

2: Self-certification process

I need help completing the form.

While completing your self-certification form you will be able to access our User Guide. Alternatively, please contact your tax advisor

 

What is 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 the country/countries in which they are tax resident. We are required to collect this information from you under both FATCA and CRS.

 

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

Like all Financial Institutions, we are legally required to collect and report certain information relating to our Account Holders (plan participants).

As a participant in an employee share plan, we are required by law to ask you to provide certain information to allow us to determine whether your details need to be reported under FATCA and/or CRS.

 

What happens if my personal details change?

It is your responsibility to ensure the personal data that we hold for you is correct and up to date.  If any of your personal details change you must undertake to advise us within 30 days of any change in circumstances which affect your tax residency status or cause the information held to become incorrect, and to provide a suitable updated self-certification and declaration within 90 days of such a change.

 

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 and account details based on the information available to the respective tax authorities. This will include reporting to the IRS even though you may not be a US Person.
  • We may be required to apply sales and dividend withholding tax on any transactions that take place on your account.

 

How does self-certification work in EquatePlus?

To self-certify, we will ask you to fill out the combined CRS & FATCA 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.

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 suggests you might be a US Person, you will be given the opportunity to complete the relevant US tax form.

 

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

The CRS & FATCA 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
  • 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 tax advisor or visit the section on Tax Identification Numbers within the OECD CRS portal.

If you are a UK tax resident, this will be your National Insurance Number (NINO) or Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

If you are a US tax resident, this will be your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

If you are a Spanish tax resident, this will be your Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI).

If you are a German tax resident, this will be your Identifikationsnummer (IdNr) or Steuernummer.

 

How do I know if I am a US Person?

Broadly a US Person is defined as:

  • 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:

  • 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 should I do if no CRS & FATCA Self-certification form is available?

If no 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.

 

How is my information used and is it safe?

The information you provide is treated as confidential and is only shared with participating tax jurisdictions with laws to treat your information as confidential.  Under CRS and FATCA laws, the information provided to tax jurisdictions may only be used for tax purposes.

 

I have already completed the CRS & FATCA Self-certification form and/or the US forms (W-9 / W-8BEN) – 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 residency.

 

I am tax resident in the same country as the Financial Institution where my account is held – why do I need to give you these details?

Under both CRS and FATCA regimes, we are legally required to establish the tax residency of all our Account Holders. Therefore you are required to complete the self-certification.

If you confirm you are tax resident in the same country as the Financial Institution where your account is held, your details will typically not be reportable to the relevant tax authorities.

 

I no longer hold any securities in my account. Am I still required to complete the CRS & FATCA Self-certification form?

Yes, if you held securities in a plan that is relevant for FATCA/CRS purposes in the past, you still need to complete the CRS & FATCA Self-certification form in EquatePlus, as well as providing any additional documentation that we request.

We may be required to report certain information to the relevant tax authorities for the period in which you sold or transferred your securities.

 

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

Information about how to complete your self-certification is available directly on the CRS & FATCA Self-certification form in EquatePlus and EquateMobile.

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

Important information about our Contact Centre:

Please note that our 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: Will I be Reported to a Tax Authority

What information is being reported to the Tax authorities?

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.

We, as well as our 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 US back-up withholding 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?

If you do not complete a CRS & FATCA Self-certification form, your details may be reported to the IRS even though you are not a US Person.

If you complete the CRS & FATCA Self-certification form and are not a US Person, your details will not be reported to the IRS. 

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 your circumstances change such that you may be a US Person for FATCA purposes.

5: Additional information on 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.