The Report

This report, written by Filippo Noseda, deals with the privacy and data protection implications of the Common Reporting Standard (or ‘CRS’) and the new registers of beneficial ownership (‘BO Registers’).

The CRS is a global system of automatic information exchange developed by the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris) adopted by 102 jurisdictions around the world.

The likely scale of information exchange and transparency under the CRS and the new beneficial ownership registers is immense. Looking at the CRS in particular, in March 2017 the European Commission estimated that some 19 million citizens born in an EU Member State were living in another Member State, with an additional 35 million people born outside the EU living within the EU. In practice, it is likely that many of these people, 54 million in total, will own bank accounts in more than one country, leading to information exchange under the CRS.

A number of European data protection agencies have raised concerns about the broad nature of the new rules and the fact that they require a generalised registration/exchange of information which is automatic and independent of the existence of any actual risk of tax evasion, raising the question of proportionality.

The report tracks the history of the CRS and the EU’s BO Registers, and addresses the question of proportionality. It also analyses a number of less intrusive measures which would enable authorities to achieve the desired objective of clamping down on tax evasion.

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