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Brunei: Double Tax Treaties

Double Taxation Agreements

Double taxation agreements exist with the United Kingdom (1950), Indonesia (2000), China (2004) and Singapore (2005), Vietnam (2010), Bahrain (2010), Oman (2010), Japan (2010), Pakistan (2010), Malaysia (2011), Hong Kong (2011), Laos (2011) and Kuwait (2012). Tax credits are only available for resident companies.

The Ministry of Finance lists the following purposes of Double Taxation Agreements:

  • Encourage investment & trade between the two countries;
  • Lessen the burden of tax on companies when operating in two countries;
  • Enable Government institutions to operate in other countries without incurring tax liabilities;
  • Enable the exchange of information on tax matters.

Treaties with Tajikistan and Qatar are not yet in force.

In April 2009, Brunei and Kuwait signed several cooperation agreements including an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and fiscal evasion with respect to income taxes.

The signing ceremony, held on April 14, saw the signing of several documents of cooperation between the two countries including an Agreement for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment, the Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and a Memorandum of Understanding on Oil and Gas Cooperation.

The agreements were signed by Pehin Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Mohammad, Brunei’s Minister of Energy and Kuwaiti Minister of Finance Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

In August 2009, the leaders of Brunei and Malaysia expressed the belief that their signing of a double taxation agreement would promote even greater bilateral economic collaboration between the two countries.

Detailed terms of the double taxation agreement had, at that point, not been released. However, it was reported that the maximum rates of withholding tax on dividends, royalties and fees will be 10%.

In November 2009, Japan and Brunei exchanged diplomatic notes to bring into force the Convention on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, which was signed on January 20, 2009.

Also in November 2009, Singapore and Brunei signed a protocol to incorporate the internationally agreed Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standard for the exchange of information for tax purposes in their existing agreement for the avoidance of double taxation.

Lim Hwee Hua, Singapore’s Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, signed the protocol together with Pehin Dato Abd Rahman Ibrahim, Brunei’s Second Finance Minister, in Singapore. Lim Hwee Hua commented: “We are pleased to sign this agreement with Brunei. This agreement marks another significant milestone in the longstanding and special friendship between both countries.”

The protocol will give the tax authorities of both countries a greater ability to exchange taxpayer information and to exchange information on a wider range of taxes. It also provides that neither tax authority can refuse to provide information solely because it does not require the information for its own domestic purposes, or because the information is held by a bank or similar institution.

The protocol will enter into force after Singapore’s legislative amendments to give effect to the internationally agreed standard have been approved by parliament and gazetted into law, and on the thirtieth day following completion of the ratification procedures by both countries.

 

 

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