Common Reporting Standard: Is your charity affected?
27 Jan 2017
If your charity gets more than 50% of its income from investments then you may well be affected by the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), and have reporting obligations to HMRC (by 31st May 2017).
The Common Reporting Standard is the result of the drive by the G20 nations to develop a global standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information, aiding the tax authorities in participating jurisdictions to reduce tax evasion. Although it came into force at the beginning of last year, HMRC have only this week finalised the guidance for charities, after a long period of consultation with a working party which included Kate Rogers, Cazenove Charities’ Head of Policy.
Determine whether you are an investment entity
The regulation is aimed at ‘financial institutions’ which include banks, custodians, depositaries, insurance companies and investment entities. It is the latter that includes some charities and foundations. If your charity derives more than 50% of its gross income from financial assets (over the last 3 calendar years) and if any of the investments are managed on a discretionary basis then you are likely to meet the definition of an investment entity.
Consider your due diligence and reporting obligations
Investment entities have due diligence and reporting obligations. They must identify their ‘account holders’, carry out due diligence on these account holders and fulfil their reporting obligations to HMRC.
For charitable trusts or unincorporated charities these account holders include all grantees and settlors. Due diligence requires tax residence data to be collected on all grantees and settlors, and to report any who are tax resident in a reportable jurisdiction to HMRC.
Incorporated charities (including those established by Royal Charter or Acts of Parliament) are likely to be less affected, although still have to report any equity or debt interest holders resident in a reportable jurisdiction. Please note incorporated charities may still hold assets in trust (e.g. permanent endowment) and may therefore have additional reporting obligations.
As a financial institution ourselves, we will be required to identify our own ‘account holders’ and so will be in touch with our clients to ask for information in due course. We are unable to give tax advice, but if you would like a general discussion on the Common Reporting Standard and its implications for charities then please do get in touch.
For more information please see the HMRC guidance for charities.