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Frequently asked questions

Retail Banking and Wealth Management – Hong Kong

What is the CRS?

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is a new information-gathering and reporting requirement for financial institutions in participating countries, to help fight against tax evasion and protect the integrity of tax systems. The CRS framework was developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Who is reportable?

The CRS seeks to establish the tax residency of customers. Under the CRS, financial institutions are required to identify customers who appear to be tax residents outside of the jurisdiction where they hold their accounts and products, and report certain information to our local tax authority, which may then be shared with the tax authority where the customer is a tax resident.

Why are you asking me for my jurisdiction(s) of tax residency?

Under the CRS, tax authorities require financial institutions such as HSBC to collect and report certain information relating to their customers’ tax status.

For example, if you open a new bank account, invest in new financial products or change your circumstances in some way, we will ask you to certify a number of details about yourself. This process is called “self-certification” and we are required to collect this information under the CRS.

Are all banks doing this?

All financial institutions in Hong Kong, except those exempted, are legally required to be compliant with the CRS/AEOI.

What information are you asking customers to provide and verify?

In line with the CRS requirements, we will ask you for your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Jurisdiction(s) of tax residence
  • Taxpayer Identification Number(s) (TIN) or its Functional Equivalent

How is my tax residence defined?

This will depend on where you live and your circumstances. Please contact a professional tax adviser or check the OECD website for more information on how to determine your tax residency, as HSBC cannot give tax advice.

The information I have been asked for on the forms is similar to the information I have been asked for under FATCA. Why is this different?

Even if you have already provided information under the United States government’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), you may still need to provide additional information for the CRS as these are different regulations with different requirements.

FATCA is US Law and requires financial institutions to identify US Persons and report in line with FATCA regulations. By contrast, the CRS requires financial institutions to identify all tax residency(ies) of customers and if required report information on customers who are tax resident outside of the jurisdiction where they hold their accounts.

I live in the same country as I pay tax so why do I need to give you these details?

Under the CRS, we are legally required to establish the tax residency status of all our customers, even if you are a tax resident in the same country as where you hold your account. However, typically your details will not be reportable to the tax authorities for CRS purposes.

How often will I need to provide this information?

Once we have a valid self-certification on file, you will only be asked to complete another self-certification when you update certain information on your account or we believe your reportable status may have changed.

Why is HSBC providing tax authorities with my tax details?

HSBC is required to report your tax details under the legal obligations introduced by countries participating in the CRS.

Will HSBC respect my data privacy?

Yes. We will only disclose your information to the relevant tax authorities if we are legally required to do so.

Is my information safe?

Customer information is protected by a strict code of secrecy and security which all members of the HSBC Group, their staff and third parties are subject to.

I have provided you with my details. Why are you asking me for supporting documents?

We are required by law to verify the details you have provided as part of your self-certification. We might ask you for a copy of your passport to verify your identity or for some other evidence of your tax residency declared in your self-certification.

What information will be reported to tax authorities?

The information provided in the self-certification form, and details about the accounts and products you have with us, including, but not limited to:

  • the balance or value
  • the total amount of interest paid

Which countries are participating in the CRS?

For a list of countries participating in the CRS, alongside the dates that they will start exchanging information, please see the OECD CRS portal – CRS by jurisdiction.

Where can I find further information and advice?

For further information on your tax residency, please refer to the rules governing tax residence that have been published by each national tax authority. You can also find out more at the OECD CRS portal and the IRD website regarding the AEOI.

Am I required to provide my tax residency details?

Under local legislation, if you have any deposit accounts, saving accounts, investment accounts and insurance products with us, you may receive our request for your tax residency details via SMS / email / letter.

To find out how you can provide your tax residency details to us through self-certification, please refer to the respective section “What do you need to do” under Overview.

Why can’t I access CRS self-certification on Personal Internet Banking?

You may encounter the following message when attempting to access CRS self-certification on Personal Internet Banking:

“Thank you for your interest in providing your tax residency details to us. According to our record, you are not required to do so, or submission via Internet Banking is not applicable to your account.  Please refer to our CRS website at Frequently Asked Questions for more details.”

If you didn’t receive our request for your tax residency details, you are not required to complete self-certification to provide this information.

If you did receive our request for your tax residency details, you would need to complete your self-certification by submitting an Individual Tax Residency Self-certification paper form as stated in the request and the reminder of the request. For more details on how to submit this form to us, please refer to the respective section “What do you need to do” under Overview.

Page last updated June 2018