On 22 March 2022 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) released a public consultation document concerning a new global tax transparency framework to provide for the reporting and exchange of information with respect to crypto-assets, as well as proposed amendments to the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) for the automatic exchange of financial account information between countries.
According to the OECD, the financial landscape is constantly evolving, notably with the development of new technologies and products that are changing investment and payment practices, especially the crypto-assets, and new digitalised ways of payment. Therefore, the risk lies on crypto-assets being used to undermine existing international tax transparency initiatives, (such as CRS) since such assets can be transferred and held without the intervention of traditional financial intermediaries, unlike traditional financial products,. Further, crypto-assets transactions imply a multiplicity of intermediaries who are for instance subject to limited regulatory obligations.
The aim of the consultation document is thus to seek input from global policymakers concerning a new crypto-asset reporting framework (“CARF”) as well as to the proposed related amendments to CRS.
In essence, the new due diligence procedures proposed under the draft guidelines would require individuals and entities carrying out as a business, services to exchange crypto-assets against other crypto-assets, to “identify their customers” and provide the “aggregate values of the exchanges and transfers for such customers on an annual basis.”
Firstly, new digital financial products are foreseen to fall within the scope of the CRS, as they may constitute a credible alternative to holding money or financial assets in an account that is currently subject to CRS reporting. In this regard, the proposal extends the scope of the CRS to cover electronic money products and Central Bank Digital Currencies. Further, in light of the development of the CARF, the proposal also includes changes to the definitions of “Financial Asset” and “Investment Entity”, to ensure that derivatives that reference crypto-assets and are held in Custodial Accounts and Investment Entities investing in crypto-assets are covered by the CRS. At the same time, the proposal contains new provisions to ensure an efficient interaction between the CRS and the CARF, in particular to limit instances of duplicative reporting.
Secondly, the amendments seek to improve the due diligence procedures and reporting outcomes under the current CRS, with a view to increasing the usability of the information for tax administrations and limiting burdens on financial institutions, where possible.
The OECD has invited all interested parties to comment on the newly proposed CARF rules by the end of April before finalizing the rules based on the feedback and updating proposed by the G20 in October.