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Foreign tax residency status reporting

Why do we need to collect your current tax residency information?

Great Southern Bank is obliged to collect information from all our customers about their tax residency status. This is to ensure we comply with global standards known as the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which are designed to prevent offshore tax evasion.

What happens to my tax residency information?

The CRS and FATCA require financial institutions like Great Southern Bank to identify accounts held by customers who may be foreign tax residents, or entities connected to foreign tax residents, and report that information to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

This information may in turn be shared with relevant tax authorities elsewhere in the world.

Great Southern Bank will only report information that we are required to by law. Any personal information we hold about you is otherwise handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

What does this mean for existing customers?

If you are an existing customer, we may be in touch if we have reason to believe you might be a foreign tax resident. We may also contact you if you open a new account and we haven’t previously been advised of your current tax residency information.

If it turns out that you are a foreign tax resident, we will ask you to provide your Tax Identification Number(s) or equivalent. If you do not provide a TIN or equivalent, you will be required to tell us why.

We may need to obtain further information from you to support the information you have provided about your tax residency information.

If you do not respond, we may be required to report your account information to the ATO. Penalties apply for providing false and misleading information so it is important that you provide the correct information when requested by us.

What does this mean for new customers?

All new customers will be asked for their current tax residency information before opening a Great Southern Bank account. If you are an entity, we may also ask about the tax residency status of your Controlling Person(s).

In both cases, if you are a foreign tax resident, we will ask you to provide your Tax Identification Number(s) or equivalent. If you do not provide a TIN or equivalent, you will be required to tell us why.

We may need to obtain further information from you to support the information you have provided about your tax residency information.

What if restrictions have been placed on my account(s)?

It is extremely important that you provide us with your tax residency information. If you have not responded to a request from us to provide this information, then we may have placed restrictions on your banking which could include;

  • Restrictions to your digital banking and Telebanking – preventing you from accessing online and mobile banking, or using Telebanker
  • Restrictions when trying to use your cards – so no ATM withdrawals or purchases can be made
  • Restrictions when making payments and transfers – including direct debits

We understand that these restrictions may be an inconvenience to you and we will be happy to restore your banking as soon as we receive your tax residency details.

You can contact us on 133 282 (option 6) Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 7:00pm (AEST), Sat: 8:00am - 4:00pm (AEST). If you’re calling from overseas, please call +61 7 3183 3502 (option 6) instead.

We may need to contact you via phone to clarify the tax residency details you have supplied, so please make sure your contact details are up to date. If we are unable to connect with you, we are required to place the restrictions back on your account(s).

Why have I received a letter about closing my account(s)?

Failure to provide your current tax residency information or Tax Identification Number (if applicable) may result in the closure of your account. Penalties apply for providing false and misleading information, so it is important to provide the correct information to us.

In some instances you may also be required to add funds to your account in addition to providing your tax residency details in order to keep your account operational.

More FAQs

What is a tax resident?

Please refer to the ATO website.

What if I don’t know my current tax residency information?

If you are unsure of your  current tax residency information, you should seek advice from an independent tax advisor.

What if I am a tax resident of Australia?

You are required to confirm your tax residency even if you are a tax resident of Australia.

What if my tax residency status changes?

You must advise Great Southern Bank within 30 days of any change in circumstance that affects your tax residency status. Penalties apply for providing false or misleading information.

What is a Tax Identification Number?

A Tax Identification Number (TIN) is an identifying number used to deal with the tax authorities in a particular country. If you are a foreign tax resident, you will be asked for the Tax Identification Number (TIN) issued to you in the relevant country.

For companies, trusts, and partnerships only

What is a Controlling Person?

Controlling Person is generally a natural person who exercises control over an entity. Control depends on the legal structure of the entity.

For a company, Controlling Persons includes any natural person that holds directly or indirectly more than 25% of the shares or voting rights of the entity as a beneficial owner. If no such person exists, then it is any natural person(s) that otherwise exercise control over the management of the entity (for example, the senior managing official of the company).

For a trust, the term Controlling Persons means the settlor(s), the trustee(s), the protector(s) (if any), the beneficiary(ies) or class(es) of beneficiaries, and any other natural person(s) exercising ultimate effective control over the trust.

For a partnership, Controlling Person means any natural person who exercises control through direct or indirect ownership of the capital or profits of the partnership, voting rights in the partnership, or who otherwise exercises control over the management of the partnership.

As a business owner who am I declaring for?

If you are a Sole Trader who trades in your own name or personally owns a trading name, then you will be making your declaration on behalf of yourself.

If you are the owner or official of a company, association, trust, partnership, co-operative, or other entity type you will be declaring on behalf of your entity. This might also include making a foreign tax declaration for the controlling persons of your entity if they are foreign tax resident.

I’ve already made a declaration myself, why are you asking me for one for my business?

As separate legal entities we are obliged to obtain a foreign tax declaration for both yourself as an individual and for the entity in its own right. We understand that in many cases it’s the same person making two declarations, however we are obliged to obtain declarations on behalf of both the person and the entity.

What information will I need to provide

For most, the declaration will be quick and uncomplicated. The information required will be:

  • The physical registered address and the mailing address of the entity.
  • The country in which the entity is registered or incorporated.
  • Names of any foreign countries and the foreign tax numbers where the entity is a tax resident.
  • For Australian super funds and charities, the entity’s ABN.
  • If more than 50% of the entities income for the prior year was from passive income sources (for example, investments).
  • The name and official position of the person able to make the declaration on behalf of the entity.

For a small number of entities, further information will be required. This will include:

  • Foreign tax identification numbers and other data depending on the entity type.
  • If the individuals who control the entity are tax residents of foreign countries, we will ask for:
    • Their full names, address, and dates of birth.
    • Their individual foreign tax numbers.
What should I do if I’m not sure what to declare?

Unfortunately, we can’t give tax advice. We recommend that you seek independent advice from a tax professional, firm, or organisation.

Do all the office bearers-directors in my organisation need to make the declaration?

A single office holder of an organisation can make the declaration on behalf of the entity (and on behalf of the controlling person) as long as they are authorised to do so by the organisation.

I’ve closed or don’t use my account anymore do I still need to make a declaration?

Yes. We’re obliged to get a tax declaration from you even if your account hasn’t been used for some time or it has been closed.

How do I make the declaration?

Call our team on 133 282 (option 6) and they will take a declaration over the phone.

Due to the specific nature of foreign tax declaration for entities our branch staff will not be able to take a declaration for you. They can however put you through to the right team if you visit one of our branches.

If we are unable to obtain the necessary tax residency information from you, we may be legally obligated to take further actions in relation to your account, potentially including freezing or closing your account.

Youth Account FAQs

Why does a child need to update their tax residency details?

We understand that capturing tax residency information for your child may seem like a strange request, however using a child’s account is sadly a common form of tax evasion. Great Southern Bank is legally required to comply with global standards known as the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which are designed to prevent offshore tax evasion. We are required to capture tax residency details of children in order to comply with these legal standards.

Who can update a child’s tax residency details?

A parent or guardian can update a child’s tax residency details if they are a signatory to the child’s account and the child is under 16 years of age.

Where a child is over 16 years of age they will need to provide the declaration themselves by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 133 282 (option 6). You may assist them through this process.

Where can I find the child’s membership number?

You can find the child’s membership number on their bank statements, the welcome paperwork provided upon account opening, or by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 133 282 (option 6).