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Common Reporting Standard grabs 2014 headlines

One event dominated the world of tax compliance and administration this year: the signing of the multilateral competent authority agreement in Berlin on October 29 to enable the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the global standard for the automatic exchange of tax information, to operate.

The first exchanges will take place in 2017.

For the tax compliance professionals working for the financial institutions who will supply the information to be exchanged, the CRS is likely to take over their lives until smooth operation can be assured, though many will be already working on compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), so perhaps getting used to the CRS will not be as bad.

As far as FATCA was concerned, 2014 was all about the law taking effect, which it did on July 1, six months later than planned. Almost 90,000 financial institutions registered on the online portal to be FATCA compliant by that date and many more have done so. Towards the end of the year the US Treasury clarified the position of those jurisdictions that had agreed-in-substance an intergovernmental agreement with the US before July 1, but had not signed it by the end of 2014.

Also in July, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) took the first steps towards outsourcing tax assurance for large businesses by setting up a pilot programme. Under the plans tax advisers would be allowed to do some of this work.

Tax commissioners in the Forum on Tax Administration agreed to work more closely together, including enlarging the former Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre and giving it a new name.

And while one survey that company bosses were in favour of more tax transparency, tax justice campaigners accused the G8 of breaking its promises on the topic.

These and other stories are included below in our selection of the top tax compliance stories of 2014.

Multilateral agreement on automatic exchange of information signed in Berlin

FATCA takes effect and brings era of continuous compliance

US clarifies position of jurisdictions with unsigned IGAs under FATCA

Australian Taxation Office considers outsourcing tax assurance for large businesses

Forum on Tax Administration unveils plans for closer coordination

Survey of company bosses shows appetite for more tax transparency

G8 has “broken promises” on tax transparency

Finance Bill gives UK tax authorities more weapons against reluctant taxpayers

Thomson Reuters honours Taxologists

UK becomes first to implement EU rules on reporting for extractive companies

Reporting requirements increase compliance burden for Mexican taxpayers

OECD announces three-part plan to open BEPS talks to more developing countries

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