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Singapore Amends Tax Info Exchange Admin

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

10 December 2014


Having previously endorsed the internationally agreed standard for exchange of information for tax purposes (the EOI Standard), Singapore has also amended its tax code to put in place the legislative framework to deal with Group Requests, with effect from November 28, 2014.

The OECD's Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes affirmed last year, through its peer review process, that Singapore's EOI regime was in line with the EOI Standard, both in terms of legal framework and implementation. In fact, an amendment to Singapore's laws, to lift the domestic tax interest requirement and remove restrictions on access to information held by banks and trust companies, came into effect from November 2013.

In addition, following the October 2014 Global Forum meeting, it was decided that requests for information on a group of taxpayers not individually identified but which have certain characteristics in common (Group Requests) are also to be regarded as coming within the scope of EOI requests based on the EOI Standard. With the legal amendment in force from last month, Singapore is now also able to assist with Group Requests from its tax treaty partners, subject to reciprocity.

Treaty partners may make a request for information for tax purposes to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). To facilitate the process, and to ensure that the requested information can be provided in a timely manner, the tax agency has provided a specific EOI format to be used when making a request.

IRAS will then assess whether the request for information is in line with the EOI Standard and will render EOI assistance only for "clear, specific and legitimate" requests. Taxpayers may make representations to IRAS to highlight any issues with specific requests, which IRAS will take into account when making their evaluations.

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) | tax compliance | law | Singapore | tax authority | agreements | legislation | legislation amendments | Tax

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