CONTINUEThis site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.
  1. Front Page
  2. News By Topic
  3. Singapore Passes Tax Information Exchange Law

Singapore Passes Tax Information Exchange Law

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

22 October 2009


Singapore’s parliament has passed the Income Tax (Amendment) (Exchange of Information) Bill, which will allow the country to implement the internationally agreed OECD standard for the exchange of information (EOI) for tax purposes.

The changes contained in the bill will enhance the level of assistance and information Singapore can provide to foreign jurisdictions under bilateral double taxation agreements (DTAs), as explained in a speech by the Minister of Finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, to parliament.

He said that previously the assistance that Singapore could give through DTAs was subject to the domestic interest condition, meaning that the information requested had to be relevant to the enforcement of domestic tax laws before the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) could gather and exchange it with DTA partners. Only where there was a domestic interest, would Singapore’s banking and trust confidentiality laws allow for information to be obtained for the purposes of investigating or prosecuting a tax offence.

The new EOI standard for exchange of information, Shanmugaratnam said, enhances the scope of information exchange cooperation under DTAs by lifting the domestic interest condition and allowing for access to information from banks and trust companies under certain conditions. This enhanced scope of cooperation will not only allow Singapore to provide greater assistance to its prescribed treaty partners, he added, but also help Singapore obtain information for the enforcement of its own domestic tax laws.

Shanmugaratnam stressed that an integral aspect of the EOI standard is its respect for taxpayers’ rights. The bill therefore contains important safeguards in this respect. It requires requests for information to be specific, detailed and relevant to the tax affairs of a given taxpayer. Consistent with the standard, Singapore will only provide assistance where the requested information is specific and relevant to the case.

As the EOI standard applies to all forms of taxes, the IRAS will also be allowed to share information, not only on income taxes, but also that obtained under the Goods and Services Tax Act, the Stamp Duties Act, and the Property Tax Act, to fulfill Singapore’s exchange of information obligations under prescribed DTAs.

The legislative amendments contained in the Bill will enhance the level of assistance that Singapore can provide to those foreign jurisdictions whose DTA with Singapore incorporates the new standard. To date, Singapore has reached agreement with 20 jurisdictions to incorporate the EOI standard under bilateral DTAs, and has formally signed such agreements with 11 of these jurisdictions.

The passing of the bill is the latest move aimed at Singapore being removed from the "gray list" of jurisdictions that have not substantially implemented the EOI standard. Singapore expects to have the 12 necessary DTAs incorporating the EOI standard to be taken off the gray list by end-2009, at the latest.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series, examining in depth the situation of offshore transparency and secrecy in a number of the most prominent jurisdictions, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report2.asp

To see today's news, click here.

Leave a comment

Read our Posting Guidelines

 






Close

Password Reminder

Please enter your email address to receive a password reminder.

 

Log into Tax-News+
Not registered yet? Find out about our daily news alert service »

 Email: 
 Password: 

Login »

Forgotten your password?







Tax-News Reviews

Cyprus Review

A review and forecast of Cyprus's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Cyprus Review »

Malta Review

A review and forecast of Malta's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Malta Review »

Jersey Review

A review and forecast of Jersey's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Jersey Review »

Budget Review

A review of the latest budget news and government financial statements from around the world.

Visit Budget Review »



Tax-News+ Updates

Receive FREE daily updates from Tax-News.com, straight to your inbox. Register Now!

For a tailored solution, choose to receive selected news updates for your preferred jurisdictions and topics, with our enhanced Tax-News+ subscriber service. Read more...

 

Stay Updated

Please enter your email address to join the Tax-News.com mailing list. View previous newsletters.

By subscribing to our newsletter service, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.


To manage your mailing list preferences, please click here »