Singapore implements bill regarding information for tax purposes

September 16, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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TheGovMonitor

A public consultation exercise on the draft Income Tax (Amendment) (Exchange of Information) Bill 2009 was held from 29 June 2009 to 28 July 2009. MOF received a total of 74 comments from the public, of which 56 comments have been accepted for implementation.

The Bill comprises legislative amendments to the Income Tax Act to enhance the level of assistance Singapore can provide to foreign jurisdictions under Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements which incorporate the new internationally agreed Standard for the exchange of information for tax purposes. The Bill also lays out documentary requirements to ensure that requests for information are clear, specific, relevant, and consistent with the Standard, and provides for procedures for access to information held by banks and trust companies.

MOF has given careful and thorough consideration to the 74 comments received. The majority of the 56 comments and suggestions accepted for implementation pertain to the procedures governing access to information held by banks and trust companies.

Amongst other comments, respondents suggested that the taxpayer and the bank or trust company involved should be notified of a valid request for such information and that the taxpayer be given the right of appeal through the Courts. MOF recognizes that notification of taxpayers and the right of appeal are consistent with the principle of respect for taxpayers’ rights under the internationally agreed Standard. The suggestions have been incorporated in the revised Bill.

In response to another suggestion to simplify the process of obtaining information held by banks and trust companies, the Bill has also been revised to remove the need for the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore to seek the Attorney-General’s consent before it can make an application to the High Court for a Court order.

Comments that were not accepted for implementation were inconsistent with either the drafting convention for legislation, or MOF’s policy objectives in keeping with the new internationally agreed Standard for the exchange of information for tax purposes.

We thank all respondents to this consultation exercise. Our response to the key comments received are also summarised on the MOF website.

http://thegovmonitor.com/world_news/asia/singapore-implements-feedback-recieved-on-income-tax-bill-regarding-the-exchange-of-information-for-tax-purposes-5228.html

Singapore’s MoF Introduces TIEA legislation
Mary Swire
Tax-News.com

Singapore’s government has introduced the Income Tax (Amendment) (Exchange of Information) Bill, which seeks to bring local tax laws in line with the OECD standard for the exchange of information for tax purposes.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has said that the changes contained in the bill will enhance the level of assistance Singapore can provide to foreign jurisdictions under bilateral double taxation agreements. For example, the new bill lays out documentary requirements to ensure that requests for information are “clear, specific, relevant and consistent” with internationally-agreed standards and provides procedures for access to information held by banks and trust companies.

During a consultation period before the bill was placed before parliament, one of the suggestions received by the MoF was that the taxpayer and the bank or trust company involved be notified of a valid request for such information, and that the taxpayer be given the right of appeal. The MoF has recognized that notification of taxpayers and the right of appeal are consistent with the principle of respect for taxpayers’ rights under the OECD standard. That suggestion has therefore been incorporated in the revised bill.

In response to another suggestion to simplify the process of obtaining information held by banks and trust companies, the bill has also been revised to remove the need for Singapore’s Inland Revenue Authority to seek the Attorney-General’s consent before it can make an application to the High Court for a court order.

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

http://www.tax-news.com/asp/story/Singapores_MoF_Introduces_TIEA_Legislation_xxxx39117.html