Government Moving Forward to Address Tax Evasion Through the Automatic Exchange of Tax Information
February 5, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance
Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier today announced that the Government of Canada has signed a Joint Declaration with Switzerland expressing the intent of the two countries to engage in the automatic exchange of financial account information in accordance with the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The Declaration was signed in Ottawa by Minister Lebouthillier and His Excellency Dr. Beat Nobs, Ambassador of Switzerland to Canada and the Bahamas.
The information received will improve Canada’s ability to detect and address cases of tax evasion, ensure tax compliance and protect the integrity of Canada’s tax system.
The Government of Canada is pleased that the Joint Declaration helps set the stage for Canada and Switzerland to mutually benefit from forging an exchange partnership under the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement to which both countries are parties. This agreement sets the framework of operational procedures to be used by tax administrations under the new standard.
Canada intends to implement the CRS starting on July 1, 2017, allowing a first exchange of information in 2018. As of the implementation date, Canadian financial institutions will be expected to have procedures in place to identify accounts held by non-residents and to report the required information to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). As the CRA formalizes exchange arrangements with foreign jurisdictions, having verified that each jurisdiction has appropriate capacity and safeguards in place, the information will begin to be exchanged on a reciprocal, bilateral basis.
Draft legislative proposals for implementing the CRS in Canada will be released for public comment in the near future.
“The introduction of the Common Reporting Standard is an important global development, which will help countries improve the integrity of their tax systems. Canada intends to implement the standard, consistent with our commitment to the G-20 and similar commitments by more than 90 other jurisdictions. Ensuring payment of taxes owed is a basic principle of tax fairness and fiscal responsibility.”
- Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
“The advent of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is an important step forward in helping countries deter and detect non-compliance. I am pleased that the CRS has widespread support and that a large number of committed jurisdictions have signed the related Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA). I am also pleased that the Joint Declaration has brought Canada and Switzerland a step closer to being able to rely on the MCAA to assist tax administration in both countries.”
- Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
- In September 2013, G-20 Leaders committed to the automatic exchange of information as the new global standard. In November 2014, Canada and the other G-20 countries endorsed the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for multilateral automatic information exchange as developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
- In November 2015, G-20 Leaders reaffirmed previous commitments to the automatic exchange of information by 2017 or 2018. To date, over 90 jurisdictions, including Canada, have committed to implement the new standard.
- The CRS will require financial institutions to implement due diligence procedures to identify accounts held by non-residents and report certain information relating to these accounts to domestic tax authorities. Tax authorities will then exchange with each other information relating to financial accounts in their jurisdictions held by residents of the other jurisdiction. The CRS will not require reporting on accounts held by residents with foreign citizenship.
- The standard includes important safeguards to protect taxpayer confidentiality and ensure that the exchanged information is used only by tax authorities and solely for tax purposes.
Office of the Minister of Finance
Department of Finance