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Singapore Enacts Tax Info Exchange Legislation

by Mary Swire, Lowtax.net, Hong Kong
15 December, 2016

Singapore has enacted legislation to automatically exchange tax-related information with other countries, under the OECD's Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

The Income Tax (International Tax Compliance Agreements) (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2016, enacted on December 8, 2016, incorporate the requirements of the CRS into Singapore's domestic legislative framework. The Regulations will enter into force on January 1, 2017.

The CRS, the new global standard for the automatic exchange of information for tax purposes, requires all participating countries and jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions (FIs) and to exchange that information automatically with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It provides for exchanges of financial account information, with the objective of detecting and deterring tax evasion. Singapore has committed to implement the CRS, with the first exchange to take place by September 2018.

Singapore has adopted the "wider approach," which means that FIs will need to collect and retain the CRS information for all non-Singapore tax residents in the case of new accounts, instead of just tax residents of Singapore's Competent Authority Agreement (CAA) partners. For CRS reporting purposes, Singapore-based FIs will need to transmit to the tax authority the financial account information relating to tax residents of Singapore's CAA partners from 2018. The tax authority will subsequently exchange the reported information with Singapore's CAA partners.

So far Singapore has agreed bilateral deals with Australia, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Korea, South Africa, the Netherlands, and the UK. Going forward, Singapore will consider all jurisdictions that have publicly and at government-level committed to adopt the CRS by 2018.

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