Foreign account reporting

Keeping us informed of your tax residency status

The UK Government is committed to working with other countries to help them counter tax evasion.

Tax evasion can occur where a person doesn’t disclose all of their income and assets to the tax authorities of any country that requires them to make such disclosures. For example, a US citizen is obliged to report all of their income and assets to the US tax authorities, regardless of where in the world that income is earned or where those assets are held.

To help counter this type of evasion, the UK has signed up agreements with the governments of certain other countries, including the US. The purpose of these agreements is to prevent account holders from using foreign banks and other financial organisations to avoid paying tax on their income and assets.

Under these agreements financial services companies are obliged to collect information relating to their customers’ tax residency and share them with the tax authorities.

Some useful links for further information:

HMRC: Automatic Exchange of Information Agreements (FATCA) – https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/automatic-exchange-of-information-agreements

The Law Society: FATCA – important guidance for trustees – https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/documents/fatca-guidance-for-members/ 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is affected by the new rules?

We expect that for most customers there should be minimal impact, and no action will be required. However, we may still contact you to confirm your status. Financial services companies like Octopus have to share the details of certain customers with HM Revenue and Customs (‘HMRC’).The customers affected include those who are:

  • Citizens of a foreign country, including individuals born overseas but resident in another country
  • Tax residents of an overseas jurisdiction that is subject to one of the government agreements in place
  • Foreign corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts

If the details we already hold about you contain any of the following seven criteria, we may request further information or documentation from you to determine whether or not we need to share your details with HMRC. The seven criteria are:

  • Foreign citizenship or residence
  • Foreign place of birth
  • Foreign address including post office (PO) boxes
  • Foreign telephone number
  • Foreign bank account
  • Current Power of Attorney or signatory authority granted to a person with a foreign address
  • ‘In care of’ or ‘hold mail’ address which is the sole address for the account holder

What additional information will be requested?

If the information we hold about you falls into any of the seven categories above, we may need to ask you to supply additional information/documentation, to determine whether we need to report information about you and your account to the local and/or foreign tax authority. For example, we may ask you to complete a particular foreign tax form or a self-declaration of your status for tax purposes.

Will Octopus supply me with all the forms I need to complete?

Yes. If we require further information from you, we’ll either send you the relevant forms or direct you to a website where you can download them.

Can Octopus help me complete these forms?

We can offer you general advice on what these rules may mean for you, but unfortunately, we can’t offer specific tax advice. We recommend you contact a professional tax adviser to discuss your personal tax situation. You may also wish to visit the relevant foreign tax authority’s website to determine if you need to complete and submit any additional forms.

When do I have to provide the requested information and/or documentation?

If we send you a request for additional information or documentation we will specify the date by which it should be supplied.

What will Octopus do if I do not provide the information required?

Where a customer is unable to provide information that’s required under these rules, we may be unable to offer them any new accounts or additional products and services. In addition, we may be forced to end our relationship with customers who do not provide the necessary information and documentation within the required timeframes.

We may report to the tax authorities information about customers who don’t provide the required documentation to us. In addition, we may also be required to withhold tax on certain foreign source payments coming into a customer’s account.