The Channel Islands have demonstrated their commitment to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS) project. This included the Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting, Action 13: Final Report, which recommended the introduction of country-by-country reporting.
The Channel Islands have introduced local regulations to ensure that country-by-country reporting is conducted in each island in accordance with the minimum requirements prescribed by the BEPS project.
Country-by-country reporting is one limb of a three-tiered reporting approach recommended by the OECD, which aims to create a transparent, coherent and modern international tax regime.
Companies will be required to provide details on an annual basis for each jurisdiction in which they do business and collate information relating to the global allocation of income and taxes for multinational enterprise groups (MNEs).
In short, MNEs are any group that has a consolidated annual turnover of at least €750 million, which includes:
- at least two enterprises, the tax residences of which are in different jurisdictions; or
- an enterprise that is resident for tax purposes in one jurisdiction and is subject to tax with respect to the business it carries out through a permanent establishment in another jurisdiction.
The master file's purpose is to provide a high-level overview of the MNE's business, including the nature of its global business operations with standardised information on all group members.
The local file is designed to supplement the master file by providing detailed information relating to transactions between local entities and affiliates and would be prepared by each local entity.
The States of Guernsey passed the Income Tax (Approved International Agreements) (Implementation) (Country-by-Country Reporting) Regulations 2016 on December 20 2016. The regulations require 'constituent entities' (as defined in the Guernsey regulations) which are resident for tax purposes in Guernsey to notify and, if required, to file a country-by-country report.
Reporting The reporting obligations under the Guernsey regulations apply to MNEs with an annual consolidated group revenue of €750 million or more for an accounting period of 12 months before the filing of the country-by-country report. Therefore, there is no obligation under the Guernsey regulations for companies which are part of a group with less than €750 million in turnover to submit a country-by-country report.
Filings The regulations state that country-by-country reports must be filed with the Guernsey director of income tax in respect of the accounting period beginning on or after January 1 2016 and every annual accounting period thereafter no later than 12 months after the end of the accounting period to which the report relates.
All country-by-country reports must be filed in accordance with Annex III of the OECD final report, which sets out the model template for country-by-country reports.
Notifications Regardless of whether a constituent entity is required to submit a country-by-country report, it must notify the director of its intention to:
- submit a country-by-country report; or
- if no country-by-country report will be filed in Guernsey, the name and country of residence of the reporting entity which will file the country-by-country report by November 30 of the year following the last day of the accounting period.
Entities must filed their country-by-country reports no later than 12 months after the end of the accounting period to which the report relates.
Penalties A 'reporting entity' (as defined in the Guernsey regulations) which fails to comply with the filing obligation without a reasonable excuse is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £20,000.
The penalty for failing to comply with the filing obligation or notify the director of the intention to file a country-by-country report is £300. A further penalty is imposed if the breach has not been rectified for each subsequent day on which the failure continues at an amount not exceeding £50 each day. There are also penalties for providing false, deceptive or misleading information.
The impact of the regulations is not expected to be far reaching and is unlikely to impinge on the way in which Jersey companies report, given that there will be few companies in the Channel Islands that:
- are part of a group with an annual turnover of €750 million;
- will be the ultimate parent in a group, thus requiring them to file a country-by-country report; and
- will be part of a group where another entity would not be better placed to make a country-by-country report filing in a separate jurisdiction.
The entities likely to be affected by the regulations are financial and insurance institutions which form part of large multinational groups. However, even then, those entities are unlikely to be responsible for filings and their obligation under the regulations is likely to be limited to notifying the director as to where the country-by-country report for its group will ultimately be filed.
For further information on this topic please contact Marcus Leese or Michaela Jesson at Ogier's Guernsey Office by telephone (+44 1481 721 672) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). Alternatively, contact Matthew Shaxson or Rebekah Agyeman at Ogier's Jersey Office by telephone (+44 1534 514 000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Ogier website can be accessed at www.ogier.com.
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