Registration and Return Filing via AEOI Portal
To facilitate financial institutions to fulfil their obligations under the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 3) Ordinance 2016, the Inland Revenue Department has developed the AEOI Portal, an information system designated by the Commissioner pursuant to section 50I(1) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112), for financial institutions to:
(a) submit notifications of:
(i) commencement of maintaining reportable accounts;
(ii) cessation of maintaining reportable accounts;
(iii) recommencement of maintaining reportable accounts;
(iv) change of address;
(b) file Financial Account Information Returns; and
(c) receive or send messages in relation to the reporting of financial account information.
To access the AEOI Portal, please click here.
Notification of Commencement of Maintaining Reportable Accounts
Financial institutions are required, under the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 3) Ordinance 2016, to give notice in the form of an electronic record to the Commissioner within 3 months after the date of the first occasion on which they commenced to maintain a reportable account. The AEOI Portal, which was launched on 3 July 2017, is now ready for financial institutions to register an account and submit notification of commencement of maintaining reportable accounts. To fulfil its obligations, a financial institution maintaining reportable accounts before 3 July 2017 is required to:
(a) register an account under the AEOI Portal; and
(b) submit a notification of commencement of maintaining reportable accounts;
not later than 3 October 2017.
e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions
Financial institutions should register an AEOI Account under the AEOI Portal for accessing the services provided thereunder. The person authorized to register an AEOI Account for the financial institution has to possess an e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions for authentication purposes.
Hongkong Post Certification Authority has offered e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions since 30 December 2016.
To apply for e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions, the applicant should complete:
(a) Application Form for Hongkong Post e-Cert (Organisational / Encipherment / Server) Certificate (CPos 798F); and
(b) Supplementary Application Form for Hongkong Post e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions (CPos 798FA).
If the applicant is already a holder of e-Cert (Organisational), the AEOI functions may be added to the e-Cert during the annual renewal process by completing the Supplementary Application Form (CPos 798FA) mentioned above.
For further details, please visit the website of the Hongkong Post Certification Authority.
Application for e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions
To support their application for e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions, financial institutions are required to produce a copy of their Business Registration Certificate to the Hongkong Post Certification Authority for examination.
Financial institutions carrying on business in Hong Kong are reminded to obtain a Business Registration Certificate before applying for the e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions. For more information about application for business registration, please click here.
For financial institutions not carrying on business in Hong Kong (e.g. a family investment trust professionally managed), a Reference Letter has to be obtained from the Department under which a Business Registration Number Equivalent (BRNE) is issued. To apply for the Reference Letter, an Application for Business Registration Number Equivalent by Financial Institution (Form IR1458) should be submitted to the Department. The Reference Letter will be issued to the financial institution after the Department has verified that it is not carrying on any business in Hong Kong.
Application by Investment Funds for Business Registration and e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions
A Reference Letter would not be issued to an investment fund that is a reporting financial institution carrying on business in Hong Kong. An investment fund, carrying on business in Hong Kong, should obtain a Business Registration Certificate prior to any application for e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions for AEOI purposes. An occupational retirement scheme and a pooling agreement that do not qualify as non-reporting financial institutions should also apply for a Business Registration Certificate prior to any such application for e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions. The application for a Business Registration Certificate by an investment fund, including a retirement scheme or pooling agreement, for AEOI purposes would not by itself bring about any Hong Kong profits tax liabilities.
While the Business Registration Number helps identifying the business carried on in Hong Kong by an investment fund, the Business Registration Number is also the “Taxpayer Identification Number” of the investment fund in respect of its financial accounts maintained with other financial institutions.
The Financial Account Information Return can be submitted by a person who is the service provider to the investment fund or who acts for a non-corporate investment fund to maintain financial accounts. As such, if the AEOI Account of an investment fund is intended to be registered and operated by a person who is the service provider or maintains financial accounts, it is not necessary for the investment fund to apply for the e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions. Nevertheless, Business Registration Certificate should be obtained for the investment fund carrying on business in Hong Kong even if the investment fund does not intend to apply for the e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions.
Service providers or, in the case of a non-corporate investment fund, persons maintaining financial accounts may act for more than one investment fund to register / operate the AEOI Accounts and submit Financial Account Information Returns.
If an entity is a reporting financial institution in Hong Kong, it would be required to fulfil the due diligence, reporting and other obligations for AEOI purposes in respect of financial accounts that it maintains. Where the entity is an umbrella fund with sub-funds, one Business Registration Certificate should be obtained in the name of the umbrella fund and one AEOI Account should be registered for the umbrella fund and its sub-funds. The financial account information of all sub-funds should be reported under this AEOI Account of the umbrella fund. When reporting, the same reporting period (e.g. calendar year) must be adopted for the umbrella fund and its sub-funds. In addition, a separate data file must be used for each sub-fund for reporting purposes.
(a) the trustee is a reporting financial institution; and
(b) the trustee reports all information required to be reported under the Inland Revenue Ordinance with respect to all reportable accounts of the trust.
The trustee of a TDT, which is a reporting financial institution, must:
(a) register an AEOI Account in the name of the trustee;
(b) report the information of each TDT in a separate data file under this AEOI Account; and
(c) input the name of the TDT when uploading the data file of that TDT.
The Business Registration Number of the TDT is not required for operating this AEOI Account though business registration of the TDT is strictly required if the TDT is carrying on business in Hong Kong. Trustees responsible for reporting information for more than one TDT are reminded to use a separate data file for each TDT. Since the information of the trustee and the TDTs will be reported in a single Financial Account Information Return, the same reporting period must be adopted and the same options regarding due diligence and reporting must be elected.
Access by Service Provider or Person Maintaining Financial Accounts
If the AEOI account is intended to be registered / operated by service providers or the person maintaining financial accounts (if financial institution is not a corporation), the financial institution should inform the Department by furnishing a Notification of Details of Person Authorized to Register/Operate an AEOI Account (Form IR1459).
Facility for Operating Multiple Accounts
Service providers or persons maintaining financial accounts may act for more than one financial institution to register / operate the AEOI accounts and submit Financial Account Information Returns. Application for Lead Operator Reference Number (Form IR1460) may be made for the facility to access, as a lead operator, the AEOI Accounts of relevant financial institutions through one single log-in.
Obligations of the Reporting Financial Institutions that is in the Process of Being Liquidated
As a general rule, a financial account is treated as a reportable account as of the date it is identified as such pursuant to the due diligence procedures. The reportable account remains reportable until the date it ceases to be a reportable account (e.g. due to the closure of the account). If a reportable account is closed due to the liquidation or winding up of the reporting financial institution, information with respect to such account remains reportable until the date of closure of the financial account by the reporting financial institution in the framework of the liquidation or the winding-up.
A liquidator of a reporting financial institution which was in the process of winding-up had to ensure that the reporting financial institution continued to satisfy all its due diligence and reporting obligations under the Inland Revenue Ordinance. In particular, but without limitation, this included the obligation to file returns in respect of reportable accounts maintained by the reporting financial institution (up to the date of closure of the relevant accounts). The liquidator could file the returns by himself or engage a service provider under section 50H of the Inland Revenue Ordinance to perform the obligations. The liquidator who wished to operate the AEOI Account of the reporting financial institution had to possess an e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions for authentication purposes. If a service provider was engaged instead to operate the AEOI Account, it was not necessary for the liquidator to apply for an e-Cert (Organisational) with AEOI Functions. A Notification of Details of Person Authorized to Register/Operate an AEOI Account (Form IR1459) had to be furnished to the Department for notifying the details of the service provider.
Financial Account Information Return
The Financial Account Information Return (BIR80) is a form prescribed by the Board of Inland Revenue for financial institutions to report the financial account information in relation to reportable accounts. Financial institutions should make the elections in the Financial Account Information Return for options provided for due diligence procedures and reporting.
The Department will issue electronic notices in January each year starting from 2018 via the AEOI Portal to financial institutions and require them to file Financial Account Information Returns. Completed Returns have to be submitted within 5 months from the date of notice.