Articles by Anthony Strevens

What are all these bank forms? - Global Tax Evasion

Thursday, August 02, 2018
You will likely have recently been sent a bunch of forms to fill in from your bank or other financial institution asking you to define yourself or your entities by choosing between various unintelligible categories. Once you’ve chosen a category by throwing a dart at the form you’re then asked to advise whether or not you are tax resident in any other country. Simple right? 

If you feel a little confused and unsure what to do, don’t panic. We’re all in the same basket.

This has come about due to the fact that New Zealand has signed up to the “Automatic Exchange of Information” (AEOI).  This is an international initiative between over 100 countries attempting to combat global tax evasion. So as a first point, if you’re not evading tax with a global financial structure then you probably don’t need to worry. 

Basically, the form is just funnelling most of us into categories and recording who the players are (e.g. trustees, shareholders, directors etc.) Then once we’re defined, they want to know if we’re tax resident in other countries. Because every other country subject to AEOI is enforcing the same compliance program, they can then cross reference these answers and investigate persons of interest.

Most of us are unlikely to be persons of interest. However, it is important to fill in the forms and return them, as the banks will likely hunt you down like a millennial with a lost cell phone if you don’t send their forms back. 

If you’re unsure about how to fill the form in, just get in touch with your Client Services Manager here at GRA for assistance (most forms require about three ticks and a signature so it’s pretty painless). If you are unsure about your residency status, you should also get in touch with us. Finally, if you’re running a global tax evasion syndicate through various offshore entities then you should probably contact your Cayman Islands tax adviser for advice!