Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) on financial accounts for tax purposes

As from 1 January 2016, all German banks, including savings banks and other financial services providers, are required to disclose the names of holders of deposit and custody accounts subject to tax in a foreign country.

The AEOI was established by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and adopted by numerous countries by way of enactment in national law. In Germany, this law, effective 1 January 2016, is the Finanzkonten-Informationsaustauschgesetz, or FKAustG. The AEOI is also referred to as the Common Reporting Standard, or CRS. The CRS aims to ensure tax transparency and to deter would-be tax evaders.

As at December 2015, 78 countries are participating in the AEOI, 28 of which are EU Member States. Further countries have announced to the OECD that they plan to join as participants .

The AEOI requires that financial institutions identify foreign financial accounts and report this data to the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern (German Federal Central Tax Office; abbreviated as BZSt). The BZSt must then forward this information to the respective participating countries.

In cases of doubt, or when a customer opens a new deposit account or custody account – or simply whenever a reporting duty needs to be clarified as to which country is to receive the report – the deposit or custody account holder must file a self-certification form. As from 1 January 2016, this form may also be used for FATCA.

The following information for 2016 will be reported to the BZSt in 2017 and for the first time:

  • the account holder's name, address, date and place of birth and tax ID number
  • the balance on the deposit or custody account as at the end of the year
  • interest, dividends, sales proceeds and other income