Guidance on FATCA and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)

Information on how we’re adhering to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and CRS.

What are CRS and FATCA?

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) went live at the start of 2016 in a number of countries including the UK and Ireland. Its goal is to help identify individuals who may have assets and income in other jurisdictions.

To help put this into context, CRS is commonly seen as an extension of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which was enacted in the US in 2010 and has put into place a framework for sharing tax information between different jurisdictions.

FATCA was designed to help identify US citizens and residents with overseas assets or income and prevent tax evasion. Financial institutions worldwide have to register with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and will have to disclose customers with a US tax status.

This format has been adopted in a number of other jurisdictions, including the UK, where it is now local law.

What does this mean for new customers?

From 1 July 2015, our savings and investment application forms included the question, 'Are you a tax resident or citizen of the USA?' This question must be answered.

We will also ask a number of questions to identify whether new customers are tax resident in other jurisdictions. This allows us to meet our reporting responsibilities under the legislation.

For more information on FATCA please log in and read our Guidance on FATCA legislation.

How has Standard Life responded?

Standard Life, in line with all other UK financial institutions, is responsible for identifying where customers are tax resident and, where required, to report their details to HMRC or the Irish Revenue.  While these rules initially applied to US persons overseas, over 100 countries have now signed up for similar arrangements with more expected to join in future.

Our paper and online new business applications, together with some of our servicing processes, have been changed to capture the information we need to comply with the requirements.

This affects most products except pension plans, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) and mortgages.

Which Standard Life products are affected?

Individual productsBonds
Purchsed Life Annuity (1) Peppercorn Investment Bond (1)
Homeplan (1) Tailored Investment Bond (1)
Versatile Investment Plan (1) Capital Investment Bond (1)
Variable Protection Plan (1) Distribution Bond (1)
  With Profits Bond (1)
  Onshore Bond (1)
  International Bond (2)
  1. Provided by Standard Life Assurance Limited
  2. Provided by Standard Life International dac

Why have you removed ‘none of the above’ as an option?

Originally the ‘none of the above’ option was included for when a client fell into a certain specialist category that we expected very few of our customers would need to use.

These categories include international organisations, government departments and bodies covered by specific US tax concepts. However, we have identified that it was being used where someone wasn’t sure of which classification applied to them.

Our experience has shown that all business received since these changes were introduced have fallen into one of the common categories. Please see the glossary on the adviser guide if you’re not sure what these common categories are.

If after reviewing the guide you still believe your business doesn’t fit with the categories on offer then please speak to your account manager. This is a global requirement and more information can be found on the gov.uk site

How is a trust viewed under FATCA and CRS?

In most cases, a trust that is set up to hold a Standard Life bond will not need to consider or comply with any special obligations.

However, there are exceptions where a trust is defined as a financial institution in its own right. This is where it has certain professional trustees or where the trust or its assets may be directly professionally managed.

A trust which is a pension plan should select the pension fund classification rather than a financial institution. See our adviser guide for more details.

Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Your clients’ own circumstances and where they live in the UK will also have an impact on tax treatment.

Guide to Advisers

Our adviser guide to FATCA/CRS includes further information on the points covered above as well as:

  • How we are complying
  • Standard Life entities and their respective GIINs
  • A glossary of terms and Q&A