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CRS, FATCA and beneficial ownership registers: The battle for privacy continues

Posted on 1 February 2021

FATCA and the CRS

Mishcon de Reya is acting in legal proceedings against the excessive nature of both FATCA and the CRS as representative of both "Jenny", a pseudonymous American living in Britain who crowdfunded the case, and "Philipp", an Austrian with a bank account in Germany.

Jenny complained to Britain’s data-protection authority, challenging tax authorities' right to send her information to America (where she owes no tax). She argued that this breached her rights under GDPR. The claim was rejected, but the authority accepted that the tax authority did violate some GDPR guidelines. Jenny's case is continuing and the latest lawsuit was filed by 31 December 2020. If successful, the ruling could be referred to the EU Court of Justice, and made applicable to all Europeans. Please visit Jenny's crowdfunding page here.

Philipp's case is currently before the local Courts, in which he is challenging the compatibility of the CRS (which is broadly modelled on FATCA) with his fundamental EU rights.

EU Law is also relevant for a claim to be launched by the Association of Accidental Americans (AAA, based in Paris) before the Courts in Luxembourg and Belgium. Technical support for that claim is provided by our Firm, working together with Benelux firm, NautaDutihl. The AAA argues that the agreements those governments made with the US to transfer people’s financial details breach EU privacy laws.

Jenny's case and the AAA case were reported in Time Magazine available here.

Beneficial ownership registers

Separately, following a number of appeals, including from Mishcon de Reya, the Luxembourg Courts referred the validity of public registers of beneficial ownership of companies to the European Court of Justice. A claim is also pending before the Dutch Courts, courtesy of a Dutch charity called 'Stichting Privacy First', which was also reported in Time Magazine.

To find out further information on the data protection work by Mishcon de Reya and to read the correspondence to data protection authorities, click here.

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