Belarus in global exchange of tax information

Belarus: Belarus may accede to the automatic exchange of tax information in the next few years.

At the moment, three models of exchange of tax information exist between countries: on request of the authorities, spontaneous exchange, and automatic exchange. Exchange of information on request means that the tax authorities in one country ask another country to supply information on taxpayers (persons or legal entities). Spontaneous exchange occurs when the tax authority obtains information on a taxpayer and presumes that this information may be interesting for the tax authority in another country. Automatic exchange means that information important for taxation of taxpayers (for example, information on the income of a taxpayer in one country) is systematically submitted to the tax authorities of other countries.

Countries are intending to follow automatic exchange. In 2014 the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) approved the Common Reporting Standard / CRS and Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement / CAA. The second of these has been signed by more than 80 countries. Most of these countries are obligated to follow automatic exchange of tax information from September 2017. Among the neighbouring countries of Belarus the following countries will operate automatic exchange: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Note: Russia will operate automatic exchange of information only from September 2018.

CRS and CAA take precedence over other legal acts: for example, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in the USA.

Besides, a Global Forum for exchange of tax information has been created. The Global Forum currently has 135 members. The Forum is working on implementing international standards on tax transparency. The OECD has developed an Implementation Handbook Standard of automatic exchange of financial information in tax matters. The Handbook provides an overview of legislative, technical and operational issues and more detailed discussion of the key definitions and procedures contained in the CRS.

Belarus does not participate in the OECD Global Forum and has not signed the CAA. Thus, automatic exchange of tax information is not currently carried out between Belarus and other countries. However, media sources are discussing the intention of the Belarus tax authorities to join the global automatic exchange of information.

Although automatic exchange of financial information has not been implemented in Belarus, in practice the authorities exchange this information with the authorities of other countries on request and spontaneously. So, Belarus has concluded approx. 14 bilateral agreements on cooperation and mutual assistance in tax matters, basically with CIS countries, more than 60 double taxation agreements which also regulate exchange of tax information between member countries.

Thus, because of the possibility of Belarus joining the international system of automatic exchange, we recommend analyzing the risks associated with keeping money in foreign bank accounts.

Source: Official website OECD: 

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