Singapore is significantly strengthening its framework for international cooperation to combat cross-border tax offences.

This follows a comprehensive review of the current Exchange of Information (EOI) framework, and represents a further, major step to enhance cooperation following the changes made in 2009. Singapore had then endorsed the internationally agreed Standard for EOI for tax purposes (hereafter referred to as the “Standard”). Since then, we had amended our laws to implement the Standard and started renegotiating our tax agreements to incorporate the Standard. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (“the Global Forum”) has recently affirmed that Singapore’s practice of EOI has been in line with the Standard.

Singapore will take four key steps that will further strengthen its EOI framework:

a) Extend EOI assistance in accordance with the Standard to all our existing tax agreement partners, without having to update individually our bilateral tax agreements with them. The current approach of updating individual agreements is no longer necessary, as most countries have adopted the Standard and have similar EOI requirements. This extension of EOI assistance will be subject to reciprocity.
依據此標準我們擴及對所有現行的租稅協定夥伴提供 EOI協助,而不需要對夥伴各別提供更新資訊。以後就不需要再對現行各別協定夥伴更新資訊,因為大部分的國家都已適用此標準並且採取類似的EOI必要措施。

b) Sign the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. This was first developed as an OECD-Council of Europe agreement, and has recently been promoted as an international agreement for bilateral tax cooperation among the Convention’s signatories. There are currently 45 signatories to the Convention. Based on these current signatories, the Convention will expand Singapore’s network of EOI partners by 11 jurisdictions, including Brazil and the United States.

Taken together, the above two changes will more than double the number of jurisdictions - from 41 to 83 - that Singapore will be able to exchange information with under the Standard.

c) Allow IRAS to obtain bank and trust information from financial institutions without having to seek a Court Order. While Singapore has been able to respond promptly to most requests for information from its foreign partners, removing the requirement for a Court Order will further streamline the administration of EOI under the Standard. It will not undermine the basic safeguards to taxpayers. IRAS will continue to assess whether the requests are in line with the Standard, and taxpayers will continue to have the right of appeal.
允許IRAS在無須取得法院命令下即能取得金融機構的銀行與信託資訊。此項措施將能進一步使EOI 管理更順利,新加坡也能立即回應夥伴所提出的大部份的資訊要求。此舉並不會減少對賦稅人的基本保護。IRAS將會持續評估所做的要求是不是符合標準,且賦稅人會保有上訴權利。

d) Conclude with the United States an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that will facilitate financial institutions in Singapore to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). FATCA is a US law which requires all financial institutions outside of the US to pass information about financial accounts held by US persons to the US Inland Revenue Service (US IRS) on a regular basis. The IGA will be in the form of Model1, under which information is exchanged between Singapore and US agencies . The Model 1 IGA will help ease the compliance burden of financial institutions in Singapore with FATCA. Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam said: “These changes we are now making are a major enhancement, in step with the strengthening of international standards for exchange of information. But new standards can only work if all jurisdictions subscribe to them. Singapore will work with our international partners to achieve just that, and ensure there is no room for regulatory arbitrage. "
與美國達成跨政府協定IGA將有助於新加坡的金融機構達成FATCA的要求。FATCA是美國規定外國金融機構需提供IRS有關美國公民所持有帳戶的相關資訊。新加坡與美國之間資訊交換是符合在IGA模式一。此IGA模式一將會減輕新加坡金融機構在遵循FATCA條款時的壓力。新加坡的副行政院長暨財政部長Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam說,”我們所做的這些重大改變是加強對國際間資訊交換標準的實踐。但是新標準還是要所有立法轄區國家都支持才能實行。新加坡將會換國際夥伴共同達成並確保沒有投機空間。”

DPM Tharman, who is also Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, added, “There is no conflict between high standards of financial integrity and keeping our strengths as a centre for managing wealth. Singapore will continue to be a vibrant wealth management centre, with laws and rules that safeguard legitimate funds and reject tainted money.”
同時身為新加坡金融管理局董事長的DPM Tharman補充說,”在金融誠信高標準與強化我們成為財富管理中心的立場間,是沒有牴觸的。新加坡將會持續的扮演積極財富管理中心的角色,在立法保障合法基金的權益的同時並杜絕黑錢。”

Singapore will make the legislative amendments necessary to effect the above changes, before the end of this year.

The above changes are part of the progressive steps Singapore is taking to enhance our EOI framework, since endorsing the Standard in 2009. The changes also come after measures introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore since 20112 to ensure that Singapore’s financial system is not used to harbour illegitimate funds or as a conduit for the flow of undeclared assets. From 1 July 2013, Singapore will criminalise the laundering of proceeds from serious tax offences3.

Singapore is fully committed to working with our international partners to combat cross-border tax offences. This includes assistance in connection with the recent disclosure that the tax authorities of Australia, UK and US are investigating complex offshore structures that may be involved in wrongdoing. Our current laws and tax agreements already allow for assistance, in connection with such wrongdoings if any.