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UK deferral of reporting deadlines for DAC 6

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The European Council announced, on 24 June 2020, the approval of the optional postponement of the initial deadlines for DAC 6 reportable cross-border arrangements for up to six months. The optional postponement is also available in relation to the exchange of financial account information (DAC 2).

The UK impact

HMRC has since announced the intended deferral of the first reporting deadlines under the International Tax Enforcement (Disclosable Arrangements) Regulations, SI 2020/25, by six months. HMRC’s International Exchange of Information Manual has accordingly been updated (IEIM800010).

The following deadlines for reporting will now apply:

  • 31 August 2020 reporting shifts to 28 February 2021: for reportable arrangements between 25 June 2018 and 30 June 2020, the lodgement reports are now deferred by six months (see regs 3(3)(a) and 4(4)(a)).
  • 30 days beginning on 1 January 2021: for arrangements between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020 (see regs 3(3)(c)(i)-(iii), 3(3)(c)(iv) and 4(4)(c)(i)-(iii)).
  • 30 April 2021: commencement date for the first periodic reports in relation to marketable arrangements.

For arrangements that become reportable on or after 1 January 2021, these must be reported as per the normal (original) timetable.

HMRC has not sought to adopt the optional postponement of the common reporting scheme (DAC 2), and instead announced that it will consider Covid-19 to be a ‘reasonable excuse’. To enable the deferral, the UK government will pass the amending regulations to give effect to the deferral.

The amended regulations may not be in force by 1 July 2020, but HMRC has announced that no action will be taken for non-reporting during the period between 1 July and the date the amended regulations come into force.


The financial services industry is polarised in its adoption of DAC 6 compliance programmes. The more progressive and diligent institutions are implementing DAC 6 with a view to meeting their tax obligations. However, there remain large sections yet to commence their DAC 6 compliance activities.

The key takeaways are as follows:

  • The regulations came into force on 1 July 2020, and firms should have instituted procedures for the detection, capture and reporting of reportable cross-border arrangements.
  • There is no easing in the DAC 6 regime requirements. The relaxation is only in respect of the lodgement of reports. In announcing the deferrals, the EU has emphasised the political determination to enforce DAC 6 given the depleted government treasuries.
  • Institutions that were behind on their DAC 6 compliance programmes, on account of Covid-19 disruption, have now been granted a ‘catch-up’ opportunity and thereby protect their reputation with HMRC. As stated by HMRC, the additional time is being granted for intermediaries to fully comply with their obligations during the Covid-19 stress circumstances.

DAC 6 is a complex tax regime that is difficult to operationalise. Firms need a robust programme to be able to implement DAC 6 given the limitations of Covid-19 work arrangements.