Exchange of information: Introduction to EOI and Requests
Exchanges of information fall broadly into three categories: on request, spontaneous and automatic.
Exchanges may only take place between authorised officers of the Commissioners of HM Revenue & Customs and authorised officers of the government of the other territory. These officers are often referred to as “competent authorities”.
Where an exchange of information might assist in our enquiries, a report should be sent in all cases except those mentioned below, to the Centre for Exchange of Intelligence (CEI), part of HMRC Risk & Intelligence, at Custom House Annexe, First Floor, 20 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EE. The guidance at INTM156060 is designed to assist in preparing a report to the overseas tax authority in order to request information. If the information received from the overseas authority is helpful to enquiries, a brief feedback report should be sent to the CEI, as this will help facilitate international co-operation.
Equally, if information is discovered that might be of assistance to an overseas tax authority, details should be sent to the CEI or another relevant competent authority as appropriate (see INTM156030).
The number of overseas jurisdictions from which the UK may request information is now significant and growing all the time, although the range of taxes covered by the relevant legal instrument providing for such requests varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
The information which an overseas tax authority may be able to provide is inevitably limited by their information powers and domestic procedures, which differ widely throughout the world. The type of information requested must be foreseeably relevant to an enquiry on the specific case. If in doubt, please contact the CEI for advice.
In addition, an overseas tax authority is generally not obliged to provide information to the UK unless the UK can in broad terms reciprocate were a similar request to be made. In the past, this has often meant it was difficult to obtain for example, banking information from overseas. However, there are now an increasing number of countries with whom reciprocal exchange of bank information is now possible. Please contact the CEI for advice on initiating a request of this type.
The sources of information available under UK domestic law should normally be exhausted before a request is made. However, it is important that requests are made at the earliest possible opportunity in the enquiry.
Sufficient details should be given to enable the overseas authority to trace a taxpayer and to make enquiries appropriate to the case. Except in cases referred to below, a report should be made to the Centre for Exchange of Intelligence, Custom House Annexe, First Floor, 20 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6EE following the guidance in INTM156060. Copies of any relevant documents should be provided, including copies in the original language if not English. Any matters of a potentially sensitive nature should be brought to the attention of the CEI.
Requests for information received from overseas tax authorities are normally dealt with by the CEI but sometimes the Large Business Service and occasionally Local Compliance may be asked to obtain information. In such cases guidance will be given by the CEI and information should be provided promptly.
Requests for information-both inward and outward-relating to aggressive/abusive tax avoidance schemes with an Australian, Japanese, Korean, Canadian or American connection are dealt with by the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre (JITSIC). UK delegates are part of CSTD Business, Assets & International and are based at Dorset House in London. Membership of JITSIC will change with the admission of further countries. HMRC readers can find the current members of JITSIC on the JITSIC intranet pages.
Requests for information - both inward and outward - relating to transfer pricing matters are dealt with by the Transfer Pricing Team at CSTD Business, Assets & International, based in South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London
Requests for information - both inward and outward - relating to taxes on estates, gifts and inheritances are dealt with by Specialist Personal Tax, Trusts & Estates, based at Ferrers House in Nottingham, and Meldrum House in Edinburgh.