From Merryn’s Blog (GBR) – Financial privacy could soon be a thing of the past.
I wonder how you feel about financial privacy? Or how much of it you think you have? The answer, should you be wondering too, is absolutely none at all.
Over the last few years you will probably have heard mention of FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. This is a newish piece of US legislation (July 2014) that caused outrage by effectively forcing financial institutions all over the world to report on all financial accounts of any kind held with them – directly or indirectly – by US citizens.
It represented – or so we thought at the time – not only an introduction of a whole new level of admin hell and a nasty extension of US law to places where US law should have no jurisdiction, but a fairly grotesque invasion of privacy: Americans can’t hide any money anywhere any more. We like the idea that everyone pays the tax that is due. But we prefer people to be presumed innocent by their governments rather than guilty.
Bad news, then, that the rest of the world now has its own FATCA – the CRS or Common Reporting Standard. The UK already adheres to the EU Savings Directive which provides for a certain amount of financial data sharing, but the CRS takes both the geographical scope and the breadth of information sharing required to a new level.