Knowing our customers makes us a reliable partner. We are legally obliged to verify the identity of our customers. We will treat the information obtained as strictly confidential.
Knowing and identifying the customer – why?
As a financial institution, INVL Life is legally obliged to verify the identity of and know its customers. In addition to updated personal data, we need to know the financial status of our customers as well as the origin of their funds. Also, insurance companies need to have adequate information on the operations of their customers, any financially and politically significant job positions they hold, which services they consume and for what purpose. Furthermore, INVL Life needs to know the customer’s country of taxation.
These obligations are prescribed by legislation aimed at preventing money laundering, terrorist financing and financial crime, among other things. By verifying the identify of our customers and getting to know them, we can be a reliable partner to our customers.
We request information from our customers at the beginning of and during the customer relationship, on a regular basis. We will keep the collected information confidential and will treat it as an insurance secret.
Why do you request personal data such as place of birth and nationality from me?
Insurance companies are always required to know their customers. We ask various questions to provide you with a better service, but also to fulfill our legal obligation of due diligence. For example, we are required to ask the customer’s name, place of birth, personal identification code and other contact details.
Who are politically exposed persons?
A politically exposed person is a natural person who is or who has been entrusted during the past 12 months with a prominent public function (including a prominent job position at a European Union organisation or any other international organisations), as well as the close family members and close associates of such individual.
For the purpose of the law, a person performing prominent public functions is primarily a head of state, head of government, minister and deputy minister, a member of parliament, a member of a supreme court, constitutional court or other high-level judicial body, the decisions of which are not subject to further appeal, except in exceptional circumstances, a judge, a member of a state control authority and of the board of a central bank, an ambassador, chargé d’affaires and active serviceman having a military rank that belongs to the sub-type of a general officer or flag officer, a member of a directing, supervisory or administrative body of a state company. List of Estonian positions whose holders are considered politically exposed persons.
A family member of a person performing prominent public functions is his or her spouse, a partner equal to a spouse, his or her parents or children and their spouses or partners. A close associate of a person performing prominent public functions is a natural person who has a close business relationship with a person performing prominent public functions or a person who as a beneficial owner has full ownership of a legal person or contractual legal arrangement, which is known to have been founded for the benefit of the person performing prominent public functions.
Why do I need to present a copy of my ID-card or passport?
During the customer relationship, we are verifying the identity of the customer in various service situations increasingly more often. This way, we can make sure the data submitted by customers are handled appropriately and in a secure way to prevent them from falling into the hands of any unauthorised persons. The customer’s identity is verified based on an official identification document.
The customer’s identity is verified based on an official identification document. We accept the following personal identification documents:
You can also safely manage your operations in our E-Life system at www.invl.ee.
I have received a letter about customer data and taxation (FATCA and CRS) – what should I do?
If you have received a letter from INVL Life regarding your customer data and country of taxation, please fill in the form attached and return it to us.
If we do not receive the information requested or are unable to identify your tax liabilities abroad based on any other information, we will be obliged to notify the Estonian Tax and Customs Board thereof.
Why should I notify you of my country of taxation (FATCA and CRS)?
INVL Life is obliged to determine the customers’ tax residency. This is required by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS). FATCA is aimed at preventing persons who are taxable in the USA from tax evasion. CRS is aimed at the global automatic exchange of financial account information.
FATCA – tax liability in the USA. Estonia and the United States have agreed on the exchange of information under the FATCA. According to the agreement, financial institutions such as banks, investment funds, companies providing investment services, and life insurance companies are required to verify the identity of their U.S. customers and notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the investments of such customers. Reporting is done via the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. U.S. persons mean, inter alia, persons residing in the USA, citizens of the USA (double citizenship included), persons with a permanent residence permit and companies registered in the USA. Furthermore, a company owned by a U.S. person can be a U.S. person.
Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and DAC II
The Common Reporting Standard is an information exchange system developed by the OECD out of the need to establish an international reporting standard and related guidelines based on the FATCA. DAC II is a European Union directive through which information exchange under the CRS is implemented between EU countries.
Where can I find more information?
If you have any questions about FATCA, please read the questions and answers or contact the customer service at INVL Life.
INVL Life is unable to provide tax advice related to FATCA and CRS. If you have any questions about taxation, please contact a tax advisor or seek more information on the website of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board at www.emta.ee or the IRS at www.irs.gov.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is FATCA?
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a part of the laws and regulations of the United States. It is aimed at preventing tax evasion through international investments and deposits by U.S. persons. FATCA applies to all financial institutions globally. Estonia has signed an agreement with the United States for the exchange of tax-related information (FATCA agreement).
Who is deemed to be a U.S. person?
U.S. persons include: U.S. citizens (double citizenship included), persons with a permanent residence permit or permanently residing in the USA, companies registered in the USA and certain companies owned by a U.S. person.
What is the effect of FATCA?
According to FATCA, financial institutions such as banks, investment funds, companies providing investment services, and life insurance companies are required to verify the identity of their U.S. customers and notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the investments of such customers. Reporting is done via the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Under the FATCA agreement, INVL Life is required to identify the potential tax liabilities of its current and new customers in the United States. If necessary, INVL Life will contact the customers for more information. To meet the FATCA requirements, INVL Life will request that the customers disclose, among other things, their place of birth and the foreign taxpayer identification number.
Is INVL Life the only institution in the financial sector doing this?
No. All financial institutions are required to meet the FATCA requirements. However, other financial institutions may have an approach different from that of INVL Life, for example, when determining the tax liabilities of existing customers.
Another financial institution has contacted me. Why is it requesting documents different from those requested by INVL Life?
In determining the FATCA status of its customers, financial institutions may use approaches and forms that differ from those used by INVL Life to collect information from customers. INVL Life is unable to provide tax advice related to FATCA. If you have any questions about taxation, please contact a tax advisor or seek more information on the website of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board at www.emta.ee (use FATCA as search keyword) or the IRS at www.irs.gov.
What is INVL Life required to do to perform its obligations under the FATCA?
The obligations of INVL Life include the following: INVL Life is required to review its existing and new customers to verify the identity of any customers who are subject to taxation in the United States. Every year, INVL Life must notify the Estonian Tax and Customs Board of the savings and investments by its U.S. customers, and the Board will forward the information to the Internal Revenue Service.
INVL Life is also required to provide the Tax Board with information on the contracts the owners of which fail to reply to the questions related to FATCA
Is FATCA a replacement for other U.S. tax laws?
No. FATCA only applies to processes and reports that are related to the requirement that financial institutions need to know their customers. This will not affect any tax laws that you otherwise need to comply with. INVL Life recommends you discuss all tax-related issues with a tax advisor.
What kind of information does INVL Life send to tax boards?
The information sent includes name, address, U.S. taxable person’s identification number and contract numbers and balances.
How does FATCA affect individuals?
Legislation prescribes criteria that financial institutions need to take notice of when identifying any U.S. persons among their customers. If a customer meets any of the following criteria, he or she might be contacted for further information: U.S. citizenship (and double citizenship), U.S. residency, born in the United States, work permit (Green Card), the person spends a significant length of time in the United States each year, U.S. address in INVL Life’s customer register, U.S. phone number in the customer register, recurrent payments (e.g. pension) to a US-based account, authorisation or procuration granted to a person with a U.S. address, the only address in the customer register is a c/o address. Please note that INVL Life consults its whole customer base to identify U.S. persons. Therefore, INVL Life may also contact people who are not U.S. persons.
I am not a U.S. person. How is this affecting me?
If you are not a U.S. person, this is not a topic that concerns you. However, INVL Life may still contact you to verify you are not a U.S. person.
How does FATCA affect companies and institutions?
FATCA affects U.S. companies and companies in other countries with the actual beneficiary (holder/user of controlling interest) being a U.S. person.
What kind of documents do I need to present?
If necessary, INVL Life will contact its customers for more information and explain the information required and the forms that need to be filled in. The forms can be INVL Life’s own forms or IRS forms (W-forms).
Will INVL Life provide me with any forms I need?
Yes. When we contact a customer, we will send all forms either as attachments or links to downloadable forms.
What will INVL Life do if I fail to send the information requested under FATCA?
According to FATCA, customers who fail to send the information that would verify their FATCA status will be deemed to be U.S. persons in reports. In such a case, INVL Life will send the information concerning the customer to the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.
Why do the forms provided by INVL Life contain questions unrelated to FATCA, about the origin of funds, for example?
According to legislation, the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, for example, INVL Life is required to verify the identity of and know all of its customers. Furthermore, we are required to verify the identity of all customers who are tax residents in a country other than Estonia. The obligations arise from FATCA and related projects in OECD countries and the EU and are aimed at preventing taxpayers who are companies and private persons from tax evasion in other countries through foreign financial institutions.
What is a taxpayer identification number, and should I submit that as well?
Each country applies its own rules to identifying taxpayers and using the taxpayer identification number. In Estonia, the identification number for taxpayers who are private persons is their personal identification code. For companies, the taxpayer identification number is the company’s registry code. Most countries have a separate taxpayer identification number, but some countries apply a combination of several numbers to identify their taxpayers (e.g. France). If a customer is subject to taxation in another country and has been provided a taxpayer identification number in that country, this number must be sent to INVL Life.
I have a flat in the United States, so am I subject to taxation in the States?
Essentially, owning a flat only does not make you a U.S. taxpayer, except when you are a U.S. tax resident otherwise as well.