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Members of the BFG community may have been contacted by their German bank, asking for information about the account holders. Further information or advice should be sought directly from your branch.

The background to the requests for information is that there are international agreements to check whether customers may be subject to taxation in other participating countries. These came into force on 1 January 2016 and on 1 July 2014. Further information is available on the UK Government website: www.gov.uk/guidance/automatic-exchange-of-information-introduction.

The effect of these agreements is that banks in Germany are required to provide information to the German Federal Central Tax Office, which will then be released to the relevant financial and taxation authorities in other countries. This information includes the name and address of the account holder, their national insurance number (or Tax Identification Number), the account number and balance, gross interest and dividends paid, and from 2017, gross sales proceeds for investment accounts.

As a result of these agreements German banks are obliged to forward details of British nationals holding accounts with German banks to the German Government which will in turn pass the information to the tax authorities in the UK. Details of individuals who fail to provide the requested information are also passed to the German Government.