AUTOMATIC EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION (FATCA and crs)

What is the Automatic Exchange of Information?

The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) is a process of exchanging information between South Africa and the United States of America.

During 2013, the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced the start of negotiations with the United States of America’s Treasury (US Treasury) to enter into an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with respect to the USA’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

South Africa’s Financial Institutions have to collect and report on certain required information under FATCA and the OECD Common Reporting Standard on financial accounts with effect from 1 July 2014. The OECD's Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is the standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information. In other words, the purpose of the CRS is to obtain financial account information from financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis.
 
SARS will then exchange the information with the US Treasury through a process of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) under the legal framework provided by the double taxation agreement that exists between South Africa and the US.
 

What's new:

  • 15 May 2017 - FATCA and CRS filing season opens
    The filing season for the submission of information relating to Third Party Data, including information relating to the submission of the Foreign Account Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is open from 15 May 2017 to 31 May 2017. Read more.

  • 01 April 2017 - SARS Third Party Data Annual Submissions – 2017
    Please note the following communication regarding SARS Third Party Data Annual Submissions – 2017.

    The SARS Third Party Data Annual Submissions process for the period 1 March 2016 – 28 February 2017 is now open as from 01 April 2017 and will close on 31 May 2017. Submissions in respect of data files and declarations of the various reportable data types as detailed per table below are now due.

Submission Dates – 2017:

Data Type:​ Trade Test Platform Go-Live:​ Production Submissions:​ ​Applicable Business Requirement Specification (BRS):
IT3 (b, c, e, s)​ ​ ​ ​01 April 2017 ​ ​ ​18 April 2017 – 31 May 2017

 BRS_2014_IT3_v2.0.3-27 |

Clarification Document IT3

​Medical BRS - Medical Scheme Contributions (MSC)_v1.0.1
Insurance​ BRS - Insurance Payments (INS)_v1.0.1
Automatic Exchange of Information​ ​01 April 2017 ​13 May 2017 – 31 May 2017 BRS_2016_Automatic_Exchange _of Information_v_2_0_0-25
(Includes FATCA and CRS)
Should you experience any challenges, you are welcome to contact us on email Bus_Sys_CDSupport@sars.gov.za.

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?

The first reporting period was from 1 July 2014 to 28 February 2015 and thereafter annually for every tax year ending February. 


How to report?

 
Step 1: Prepare a data file. The BRS for the Automatic Exchange of Information Version 1.0.1 (for submissions by end May 2016) provides guidelines on the submission of the information by FFIs.
 
Step 2: Enrol for Third Party Data Submission. Either Connect:Direct® or Secured File Gateway - HTTPS (files smaller than 10MB) channel.
 
Step 3: Submit data to SARS either Connect:Direct® or Secured File Gateway - HTTPS (files smaller than 10MB) channel.
 
Step 4: 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 trusts, partnerships and foundations)
  • Passive entities
Entity accounts opened between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2014 are to be regarded as pre-existing accounts. 
 

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.

Voluntary Disclosure Programme

South Africa plays a leading role in the global movement towards greater transparency and exchange on information in tax matters to ensure greater trust and fairness in the international tax system.
 
Top Tip: 
South African taxpayers who have not yet regularised their position with respect to their offshore holdings are reminded that SARS offers a Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP). 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
​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
​BRS for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) version 2.0.0-25 for submission by end May 2017
BRS for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) version 2.0.0-24 for submission by end May 2017
​Clarification notes to the current BRS for AEOI version 1.0.1 for submissions by end May 2016
Public Notice 597 on Incidences of non-compliance published in Government Gazette 38983 on 10 July 2015
​​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
Media Release on the Specifications for the reporting of information under FATCA, AEOI and Domestic Law issued on 3 April 2014
Media Release on the signing of the FATCA Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) issued on 9 June 2014
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)
Draft BRS for the Automatic Exchange of Information Version 2.0.0-5 for submissions by end May 2017
BRS for the Automatic Exchange of Information Version 1.0.1 for submissions by end May 2016
Media Release on the update on implementation of FATCA in South Africa issued on 26 March 2015
Last Updated: 14/05/2017 4:19 PM     print this page
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