What's new:

30 June 2017 - AEOI Administrative Penalties – If you are a Reporting Financial Institution (RFI) and you have missed the deadline of 31 May 2017 to report to SARS the financial information with respect to reportable accounts and declaration under the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS), you may be liable for penalties. For more information on penalties, see our AEOI Penalties.

What is the Automatic Exchange of Information?

In 2014, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), working with G20 countries, developed the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) in Tax Matters (the Standard) also known as the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS). The Standard requires financial institutions to report information relating to the financial accounts which they hold for non-resident taxpayers to tax authorities. This information is then automatically exchanged between tax authorities each year in order to reduce cross-border tax evasion.

From September 2017 over 50 jurisdictions will be taking part in the annual automatic exchange of third party information to assist with domestic tax compliance. South Africa is an early adopter of the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) which includes both the initiative stemming from South Africa signing an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on their Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) as well as the CRS.

International Treaties & Agreements

The documents are available under International Treaties & Agreements > Exchange of Information Agreements.

Who should report?

In terms of the IGA, FFIs include South African banks and custodians, brokers, asset managers, private equity funds, certain investment vehicles, long-term insurers and other participants in the financial system.
Entities which are exempt beneficial owners or deemed compliant FFIs and the accounts which are excluded from the definition of Financial Accounts are described in Annexure II of the IGA.

When to report?

By the due date of 31 May annually - for every tax year ending February. 

How to report?

Step 1: Prepare a data file as per BRS_2016_Automatic_Exchange _of Information_v_2_0_0-25. Alternatively, if you have a NIL file submission this can be done via eFiling using an FTI-01 form.

Step 2: If you have not already been enrolled, you need to enrol for Third Party Data Submission. You may use either:

Step 3: To test your data file on the SARS Trade Test Platform, request access from Third Party Data Support (follow the steps prescribed on this document trade testing setup guide)

Step 4: Submit the data on SARS Production Platform using your preferred channel as per step 2 above

Step 5: Declare a summary of data submitted on eFiling.  See How to declare your Foreign Tax Information (FTI) for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) for more information.


What is included in the reporting?

The financial information with respect to reportable accounts includes–
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Account balances
  • Income from certain insurance products
  • Sales proceeds from financial assets and other income generated with respect to assets
Reportable accounts include accounts held by–
  • Individuals
  • Entities (which includes legal arrangements such as trusts, partnerships and foundations)
  • Passive Non-Financial Entities (PNFEs),

where the account holder or controlling person(s) of PNFEs may be tax resident in a foreign jurisdiction.


What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Public Notice 597 on Incidences of non-compliance was published in the Government Gazette 38983 on 10 July 2015. For more info on the fixed amounts for non-compliance penalties, click here.

Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme

South African taxpayers who have not yet regularised their position with respect to their offshore assets are reminded that SARS offers a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) which expires on 31 August 2017. Contact details of the VDP Unit are available here. They can be contacted on 0800 864 613 during office hours.


Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Documents​ ​& Information
​BRS for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) version 2.0.0-25 for submission by end May 2017
​FTI Test File – CRS Null File Structure for Testing Purposes
​FTI Test File – CRS File Structure for Testing Purposes
FTI Test File – FATCA Null File Structure for Testing Purposes
​FTI Test File – FATCA File Structure for Testing Purposes
​FTI Test File – FATCA & CRS File Structure for Testing Purposes
​​Guide on the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
​​​Government notice on the agreement between South Africa and United States of America (USA)
Provisions which form an integral part of the FATCA IGA in terms of Article 7 thereof
Public Notices 508 and 509 published in Government Gazette 37778 on 27 June 2014
Exchange of Information Agreements (IGA published in Government Gazette 38466 on 13 February 2015)
Last Updated: 11/07/2017 4:30 PM     print this page
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