Why we collect foreign tax information
The government requires all Australian banks and certain other financial institutions in Australia to report on any accounts where a tax obligation to a foreign government may exist.
We report foreign tax information annually to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to comply with obligations under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
Under CRS and FATCA obligations, all Australian banks and certain other financial institutions must identify accounts held by customers who are foreign tax residents or entities connected to foreign tax residents. Financial institutions must report these customers to the ATO.
What does this mean for you?
We’re required to ensure the accuracy of tax residency information when you first join Bank Australia and throughout your time with us. You may be asked to complete a declaration form or provide relevant information more than once.
What is tax residency?
Generally speaking, your tax residency is based on the country where you live and/or work. Working or travelling overseas may cause you to be a tax resident elsewhere or in more than one country at one time.
Who can help you figure it out?
Each country has its own rules for defining tax residence. We recommend speaking with a tax adviser or accountant, particularly if you have a complex work history or have lived in multiple countries. Much as we’d be happy to help, Bank Australia staff aren’t authorised to give you tax advice.
When to provide foreign tax information
Have things changed?
Importantly, please tell us straight away and in any event no later than 30 days after, when you become aware of any potential changes to your tax residency. For example, if you return to Australia after working abroad for a while.
What if you don’t tell us your details?
We’re required to tell the ATO if you refuse to provide your foreign tax details, including the reason for refusal if you provide one. As with all financial institutions, failure to report qualifying information about our customers can result in severe penalties for Bank Australia.
What are CRS and FATCA?
The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is for foreign tax residents, and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is for citizens of the United States (US) and US tax residents.
Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
The CRS was developed with international support after a request by the G20 for a more effective framework for tackling international tax evasion. The Australian Government amended the Taxation Administration Act (1953) in 2016 to turn CRS reporting requirements into law. More information can be found at OECD.
The legislation requires every Australian bank (and certain other financial institutions) to inform the ATO when an account is held or controlled by a person who has, or may have, a foreign tax residency.
Where to find information
The ATO has designed and issued a wide range of guidance and standards on how countries should require institutions to identify relevant accounts, report said accounts, and the format and content of information to be shared. You can read more on the background and development of the CRS over time at the ATO.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
The US passed FATCA in 2010 to tackle the challenge of non-payment of taxes by American citizens. FATCA requires every non-US foreign bank (and some other organisations) to inform the United States of America (USA) when an account is held by a US person. Some types of accounts and some types of customers are not reportable, so it is very important that you keep your details as up to date as possible.
Where to find information
The Australian Government entered into an inter-governmental agreement with the US in 2015 to clarify and streamline the reporting process, including a channel for Australian reporting entities to report to the ATO. Which is why it’s more important than ever to keep your information up to date. You can read more at the ATO website.
Need to update your details?
These are the forms you need for confirming your tax residency. Simply choose the form that’s right for your situation. Some types of accounts and some types of customers are not reportable, so please keep your details up to date.
CRS01 – you have never had a connection to the United States, but have a connection to another country or countries including Australia
CRS02 – you may have, or have had, a connection to the United States
CRS03 – you are acting for a legal entity (such as a company, partnership, or Trust) and have a connection to a foreign jurisdiction
CRS04 – you are a Not-for-profit / charitable organisation in Australia
If you wish to confirm, you only have Australian tax residency, please complete the relevant form above.
Return your form to us
Be sure to include your name and customer number and send to: 50 Moore Street, Moe VIC 3825.
At your nearest branch.
Frequently asked questions
Are my tax details up to date with Bank Australia?
Why does Bank Australia think I need to provide information?
The tax rules require banks to collect evidence of tax residency especially where some indicators exist that foreign tax residency may be present. These can be many and varied, and do not confirm tax status – so we need to check with you directly.
If a customer has a foreign mobile number for contact purposes, or makes regular withdrawals from an ATM overseas in the same location, this may suggest that they live in another country for at least part of the year.
What is a TIN?
A TIN is a Tax Identification Number. It’s the number issued by a country to an individual or legal entity to identify a taxpayer, like Australia’s Tax File Number (TFN). A TIN will normally be a series of numbers and letters.
Some countries don’t offer a standalone TIN, but use another government-issued number (such as the social security number in the USA). If in doubt, refer to the relevant countries tax office for information.
What is a controlling person?
A controlling person is somebody who has control over a legal entity – which means that they can influence decisions around the use of a bank account, investment activity, or other actions taken by the entity. An example would be a joint owner of a company – both owners would be a controlling person.