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Singapore Legislates For Automatic Tax Info Exchange

Singapore's Ministry of Finance has released for public comments the draft Income Tax (Amendment No.2) Bill 2016, which would enable Singapore to automatically exchange tax-related information with other countries under the OECD's Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

The draft Bill provides that existing provisions in the Income Tax Act governing automatic exchange of financial account information, which were introduced to implement the Singapore/US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, would also extend to information exchanged under the Standard. This would enable Singapore to sign competent authority agreements (CAAs) with other jurisdictions to implement the Standard, the Ministry noted.

Once enacted, the Bill would require and empower all financial institutions (FIs) to collect and retain the CRS information for all non-Singapore tax residents, instead of only from tax residents of jurisdictions with which Singapore has a CAA. The draft Bill also proposes to empower the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore with necessary powers, including the power to mandate electronic filing of returns and information to effectively implement the Standard.

More than 95 jurisdictions have committed to implement the Standard, including Luxembourg and Switzerland. Singapore intends to commence exchange of information under the Standard in 2018.

The consultation will close on March 16.

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