What is the Automatic Exchange of Information?
The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEI) is a tax standard that governs how tax authorities of participating countries exchange information with one another related to taxpayers' foreign bank and safekeeping accounts. The AEI standard has been developed and published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The AEI standard will be implemented globally; approximately 100 countries have already committed to implementing this initiative. Participating countries enact domestic laws in order to implement the AEI standard. The so-called "Wave 1" countries, also known as "Early Adopters," implemented the AEI on January 1, 2016, with the exchange of information having started in 2017. So-called "Wave 2" countries (which include Switzerland) implemented the standard as of January 1, 2017. The first exchange of information involving these countries is to take place in 2018. Further countries are expected to follow.
The AEI standard requires financial institutions (e.g. banks) in participating countries to identify all clients (incl. the controlling persons of certain entity clients) that are residents of another participating jurisdiction. Once such a reportable person is identified, the financial institution will report the relevant information annually to its domestic tax authorities, which will forward the data to the tax authority of the jurisdiction in which the reportable person is resident for tax purposes.
The following information is to be reported by the financial institutions and will be exchanged with the tax authorities in the client's country of tax residence:
- Identification information (e.g. name of the natural person or entity, address, country of residence for tax purposes, taxpayer identification number and date of birth);
- Account information (e.g. name of the financial institution and account number); and
- Financial information (e.g. account balance, dividends, income, other income, and gross proceeds)