Bank Tax Residency Forms

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Insights From MCA Accountants

Bank Tax Residency Forms

Last update: 8 April 2018

Changes to global data sharing agreements mean that banks are obligated to report to the ATO whether account holders are tax residents or not. Banks are sending forms, or asking questions via online banking to gather this information now.

From what we have seen to date, these forms are typical bank forms – small print, jargon with no help understanding what the terms mean, and come with no instructions. Talk about service!!

There are 3 forms that you may be asked to fill out. The OECD sample form and their instructions can be accessed by clicking on the below:

In most cases:

  • The account holder will be the person or entity that the account is for. If it is a trust, write the trust and not the trustee.
  • The controller of any entity will be Mum & Dad (if Mum or Dad are deliberately not director or shareholder for asset protection, then it will be just one).
  • If the entity runs a business, it will be an active non-financial entity. In this case you will not need to complete the controlling individual forms.
  • If the entity does not run a business, it will be a passive non-financial entity. In this case, you will need to fill out the controlling individual forms also.

But it is important that you understand what the terms in the form mean so you can assess whether the above simplification is not relevant to you. Keep reading to have those terms explained.


Had enough reading already and simply want these done for you? We can complete these forms for our clients upon request. Simply contact us to get started.

Not a client? Is your accountant providing you with information such as this when you need it? We make a concerted effort to keep our clients informed, and we specialise in making the complex seem simple. Contact us today to find out more.

The following terms you will need to understand:

  • Account Holder: The entity or person who owns the bank account. If the holder is a trust, estate, or super fund, you put this entity down (and not the Trustee). If the bank account is in Mum’s name on behalf of her child, you put the child’s name down.
  • Control: There are different definitions for trusts compared to other entities:
    • Trusts: The definition specifically includes trustees (the people running the trust), settlors (the people who set the trust up), principals and appointors (the people with the power to replace the trustees), and importantly all beneficiaries (the people who can benefit from the trust). Basically every person involved (no matter how remotely) is deemed a controlling person.
    • All others: In relation to whether a person has a controlling stake in an entity, if they can exercise 25% of the votes (either by shareholding or directorship), you are seen to be “in control”. If no person has control over an entity (say 10 shareholders each owing 10%, and all 10 are directors), then the most senior person will be deemed to have control.
  • Financial Entity / Institution: Basically a bank or other entity that holds and deals with money, shares, and other items on behalf of other people. It is not an entity with a share or property portfolio that is being run for itself.
  • Non-Financial Entity: Every entity that is not a financial entity. This will cover 99% of our clients, and if you are reading this, it probably covers your company, trust, super fund, or other entity.
  • Active Entity: Basically an entity where more than 50% of its income is from running a business, or is related to an entity that meets that criteria (e.g. if your business structure is that the business is run in your company, and the business property is held in a trust – both are counted, even though the trust isn’t running a business). The definition also includes start up businesses (<2 years), liquidating businesses, listed companies (on the stock exchange), government entities, not for profits,
  • Passive Entity: Every entity that is not an active entity. This will basically be entities where more than 50% of its income is from investing (share dividends, rent, trust distributions, etc).
  • Resident: A truly complex subject, but we’ll simplify it to the following (if there is any doubt, seek advice because the below is an overly simplified view):
    • Entitles: Entities are generally Australian residents if the individuals in control of the entity are Australian residents. In addition, companies are Australian residents if they were incorporated in Australia.
    • Individuals: You are an Australian resident if your home & family are here (even if working overseas for extended periods of time).
    • Multiple Residency: It is possible to be a resident of more than one country at the same time. Every country has its own definition and if you spend any reasonable amount of time overseas, or have property or family overseas, you should seek professional advice.
  • Taxpayer Identification Number: This is your Tax File Number, or TFN.

Below are copies of the ANZ forms with our annotations to assist in filling them out. Of course, if you need further assistance, our lines are always open. Simply give us a call or shoot us an email. Our details can be found here.

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