Automatic exchange of tax information: initiation, implementation and guidelines in Bulgarian context

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The paper aims to introduce and clarify automatic exchange of tax information as a global and European Union initiative in order to curb tax evasion via cross-border tax avoidance, along with aggressive tax competition. It investigates the role of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which developed Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and endorsed it in 2014. CRS is a framework for automatic exchange of tax information with the purpose to promote cooperation among various jurisdictions. For EU Member States, CRS is transposed by the amended EU Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC2). Bulgaria as a member state has transposed the Directive in the national law.
This study examined automatic exchange of tax information (AETI) from Bulgarian perspective – historic development, legal framework, responsible and competent authorities and application of DAC2 and expectations for newly approved DAC3.
In the study, Bulgarian financial institutions (banks) are examined, implementation status and how the challenge of AETI, including client information and data protection, are addressed. Primary data for banks are collected from publicly available sources (website of the respective bank), as company websites of top 5 Bulgarian banks were examined for information related to automatic exchange of financial information/tax information.
Results show that major Bulgarian banks, within First Group in terms of assets, are initiating the process, internal due diligence and preparation for the new reporting requirements.
General conclusion is that currently there are some critical issues to be addressed, new DAC3 might introduce higher challenges, as practical guidance is the solution.

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