Fast uptake of global exchange of information for tax purposes is ‘admirable’

Andrew Knight, partner at Maitland Legal in Luxembourg, says the OECD had realised that putting a global system, such as the CRS, in place in such a short time was going to be challenging.

Marelize Loftie-Eaton, head of external tax reporting and tax administration risk at FirstRand Group, says the industry did not have sufficient time to run an intensive client communication programme.

She says that in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), people had to provide specific documents before they could open a bank account. In terms of the OECD’s reporting standard, people are simply asked if they have “foreign tax liabilities”. This, she says, has been quite challenging to explain to people since the bulk of clients are ignorant about tax issues and concepts such as “tax residency”.

She says most reporting entities and clients have not realised the magnitude of the implementation.

Knight says although the OECD has succeeded

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