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The international exchange of financial information between tax authorities has become an instrument for combatting tax fraud.

Based on the intergovernmental agreement model for improving international tax compliance and the application of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the OECD received a mandate from the “G-20” to draw up a single international standard for automatically exchanging tax information regarding financial accounts.

The process for countries, including Spain, to join the Model Competent Authority Agreement created by the OECD began on 29 October 2014, resulting in the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for automatically exchanging information between countries. This exchange system enables tax authorities in member countries to periodically receive tax information about the investments or positions held by their taxpayers in foreign financial institutions.

In addition to the international agreements, within the European Union the CRS has been implemented through Council Directive 2014/107/EU of 9 December 2014, which amended Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011. Spain has transposed these legislative amendments into its legal system by modifying its General Tax Act, modifying the General Regulations on Tax Inspection and Management Procedures, and incorporating Royal Decree 1021/2015 of 13 November, which establish the obligation to identify the tax residence of persons that are account holders or control certain financial accounts and to provide information about such persons based on mutual assistance. These changes implement the rules on reporting financial accounts to the tax authorities and the due diligence procedures that financial institutions must apply to obtain information from their customers.

These regulations apply to Bankia, as a financial institution, which must obtain the corresponding information from its customers starting from 1 January 2016, including the tax residence of persons that are account holders or that control certain financial accounts, and report this information to the Spanish tax authorities when applicable.

Further details about application of the CRS can be found in the Spanish legislation that governs this exchange of information in Royal Decree 1021/2015 of 13 November, and from the OECD’s website or in the subsequent document from the OECD. Similarly, answers to the most commonly asked questions about this legislation can be found in the CRS-related FAQs.

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