CRS reporting update, June 2017

Emily Deane TEPSTEP attended the most recent CRS Business Advisory Group hosted by HMRC and discussed the following issues:


HMRC advised that new documents on the OECD portal have been published along with some additional FAQs.


Members were interested to know when the OECD will publish its loophole paper which will review loophole reporting strategies.

HMRC advised it does not expect imminent changes to the OECD’s anti-avoidance strategy but does expect a review prior to that planned in 2019.

In the meantime, the OECD has launched a facility for parties to disclose CRS schemes which are potentially used to circumvent CRS reporting.

US TINs – invalid format

The number of the US Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to be submitted has to be in a certain format, otherwise the return will be rejected.

In some cases a nine-zero approach will be accepted but some accounts with missing TINs are causing difficulties having been submitted in an incorrect format. The ‘missing TIN’ cases are inevitably causing issues for users and HMRC. Members agreed that there will be problems next year when the nine-zero approach will no longer be accepted.

HMRC recognises these difficulties and has been liaising with the IRS regarding the TIN issues. A member also mentioned that the issue was being raised by industry groups in EU circles.

Invalid self-certifications

Members agreed that HMRC’s guidance is ambiguous if a self-certification is returned to the financial institution but contains errors. For example, would HMRC accept a self cert that had been returned, but not signed, in a time sensitive case?

HMRC declined to generalise on self-certification issues, stating that each example has to be judged on its own specific issues. It confirmed that it is up to the financial institution to decide whether it is satisfied that a person is non reportable. The financial institution should apply due diligence procedures based on guidance and common sense.

The mediation period and the cut off timing were also discussed. HMRC stated that it is up to the individual financial institution’s procedures as to the cut off. It was agreed that it can be a grey area with some contradictions, and in some cases the financial institution may need to decide whether a person is reportable, whilst the validation is undertaken. More clarity on this issue was requested from HMRC.

HMRC customer support

HMRC has been receiving increasing numbers of calls from clients of financial institutions, rather than the financial institutions themselves. This is causing problems, particularly when close to filing dates. As a result, HMRC has asked financial institutions to omit its contact details from notes that accompany the self-certifications, stating these are not relevant to clients and it does not have the resources to deal with additional queries.

STEP will continue to attend the periodic working group to discuss ongoing technical issues with HMRC.


STEP Guidance Note: CRS and trusts
Live STEP webinar on ‘CRS and Trustees’ with John Riches TEP and Samantha Morgan TEP, 13 June


Emily Deane TEP is STEP Technical Counsel

5 thoughts on “CRS reporting update, June 2017

  1. I have done my best to understand the implications of CRS. Unfortunately there seems to be no simple resource for the majority of private client practitioners to access, and the resources which are available are mostly incomprehensible to practitioners who deal largely with UK resident trusts set up under simple Wills etc.

    I attended the CRS webinar yesterday but disappointingly it was again aimed at a different level of practitioner and none of my simple questions were answered.

    Please could someone answer the following questions:

    1. Please confirm that UK HMRC are only concerned with regard to Trusts which are financial entities where payments of income are made to settlors, trustees, protectors and beneficiaries (“the Controlling Persons”) resident in a Reportable Jurisdiction, other than the UK.
    2. If we have a UK Trust where no Controlling Person is resident in a non UK Reportable Jurisdiction, or if one of them is no payment of income is made to him in a calendar year, does this mean that no report needs to be made for that year, as there is no requirement to make nil returns?
    3. Please confirm the only situation in which there is a requirement to make a nil return as far as Trusts are concerned is where there is a reportable account to whom payments are made, the value of which falls below the threshold of $250,000 US dollars – in that situation I understand it is necessary to submit a nil return each year to make the election to use thresholds.

    Thanks in anticipation

    Simon Northcott

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