The Council of Ministers has approved a draft bill that enables Belgian Financial Institutions to automatically provide financial account information of foreign clients to the Federal Public Service Finance. The latter will act as an intermediary and will, in this regard, exchange this information across borders with the competent authorities where foreign clients are residents.
As a reminder, the international automatic exchange of financial account information is considered by most countries as particularly efficient in the fight against tax evasion and international tax fraud and is becoming the new global standard (considering the US FATCA legislation, the OECD Common Reporting Standard project).
The draft bill aims at implementing the automatic exchange of information of financial account information between Belgium and cooperating jurisdictions provided for in various legal instruments such as the Directive on Administrative Cooperation as amended on 9 December 2014, any administrative agreement entered into in the framework of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters of 25 January 1988 or any bilateral agreement allowing such automatic exchange of information. For instance, a similar agreement was already concluded with the USA in 2014.
The draft bill mainly focuses on the transfer of information from Belgian Financial Institutions to the Belgian competent authority, so that the latter can comply with its obligations towards foreign jurisdictions.
We are following up the latest developments in this area and would be more than happy to provide you with any assistance where needed.