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Automatic exchange of information: the hidden trap


Automatikus információcsereThe fear most frequently mentioned by clients in regard to the automatic exchange of information is related to the data of the beneficiaries of corporate accounts. This fact on its own will not necessary result in tax law related consequences. The rules on controlled foreign companies have to be thoroughly reviewed in the country where the beneficiary is tax resident. In several countries, if the person concerned received no income from the controlled foreign company, then no tax is due.

There is however one element which very few people have taken into consideration. This is the place where the company is actually managed from. As this fact can also be revealed during the automatic exchange of information, everybody who has an interest in a foreign company should be dealing with this matter. A company may be completely tax-exempt in its country of incorporation, but if it is managed from another country, then the tax-exempt company is considered to have premises in the country where the control/management of the company is actually taking place. This is made possible by the OECD directives and/or by the national legislation of most countries, in addition to the agreements on the avoidance of double-taxation. The legislation indicated above consider that the place of control constitutes the establishment of premises.

As a result, any income related to the premises is subject to taxation in that country. Although the status of the beneficiary does not necessarily give rise to a tax payment obligation, the place of control may subsequently, and/or even retrospectively, result in a tax obligation in the country where the private individual controlling the company is resident. Of course, this is also a very complex question, but it is worth dealing with. Finding an appropriate solution means that unpleasant consequences can be avoided.