The Cayman Islands Department for International Tax Cooperation ("DITC") has issued an Industry Advisory in which it provides important updates to all Cayman Islands Financial Institutions ("CFIs") in relation to FATCA and CRS.

As well as announcing the reopening of the AEOI Portal, the DITC has published revised versions of the AEOI Portal User Guide, CRS Guidance Notes and Entity Self-Certification Form. This Advisory provides a high-level summary of the key changes.

Reopening of the AEOI Portal

The DITC has reopened the Cayman Islands AEOI Portal for notification and reporting in relation to FATCA and CRS. The regulatory deadlines for the 2017 calendar year are 30 April 2018 for notification and 31 May 2018 for reporting.

The AEOI Portal has updated functionality including new processes for changing the Principal Point of Contact ("PPoC") or Authorising Person of a CFI and for deactivating a CFI.

Entity Self-Certification Form

The Entity Self-Certification Form has been revised and, with effect from 1 April 2018, CFIs must use the new version of the Entity Self-Certification Form rather than any prior version.

The revision means that the threshold for a "Controlling Person" in respect of a legal person is now direct or indirect ownership or control of "10% or more" of the shares or voting rights in the legal person, being the threshold specified by the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2017 which implement the FATF Recommendations in the Cayman Islands. This revision aligns with the recent update by the OECD of its CRS FAQs and only applies to CRS. The corresponding threshold for FATCA remains "more than 25%".

CFIs must remediate any affected accounts by 31 December 2018 to be in a position to report on Controlling Persons who are Reportable Persons under the CRS in 2019 based on the 10% threshold. Affected accounts are those held with a CFI by Passive NFEs which are legal persons.

CRS Guidance Notes

The CRS Guidance Notes have been revised and CFIs should refer to the new version 3.0 rather than any prior version. A summary of the changes is set out in Appendix 2 of the Industry Advisory but include the following:

  • If a Self-Certification Form is not obtained within 90 days after the account is opened then the account should be closed. This requirement aligns with the recent update by the OECD of its CRS FAQs.
  • A CFI which is being liquidated or wound up should arrange for a third party to perform any obligations under CRS which will arise prior to final dissolution and which cannot be completed prior to such final dissolution for any reason.
  • A CFI which is migrating to another jurisdiction will be required to terminate its registration on the AEOI Portal, including submitting CRS Returns and a CRS Filing Declaration for the "stub" part of the year up to the date of migration (unless it is migrating to a Participating Jurisdiction which will require the Financial Institution to make CRS Returns there by the end of the year of migration).
  • Indirect distributions by a trust may arise when the trust makes payments to a third party for the benefit of another person, in which case the Reportable Person will be the person that is the beneficiary of the trust receiving the indirect distribution (for example, where a trust pays tuition fees on behalf of a beneficiary, the beneficiary is the Reportable Person).

AEOI Portal User Guide

The AEOI Portal User Guide has been revised and Cayman Islands Financial Institutions must refer to the new version 4.0 rather than any other prior version. A summary of the changes is set out in Appendix 1 of the Industry Advisory but include the following:

  • The Authorising Person has a User Profile and login credentials and there are new procedures for the PPoC to change the Authorising Person and vice versa.
  • There is revised procedure for deactivating accounts on termination of CFI status and details of the required steps to address CRS Status Messages (when corrections are required).
  • Revisions in relation to US FATCA Reporting confirm that where the TIN field is blank, the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority will consider the Account Holder as recalcitrant and may take regulatory action.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.