Tax Treaties (Double Taxation Agreements)

Singapore's Avoidance of double taxation agreements (DTAs)

DTAs help to widen Singapore’s economic space and strengthen its position as a hub for business. Currently, Singapore has 60 comprehensive DTAs and 7 limited DTAs1 in force. The main objective of a DTA is to minimise tax barriers to the cross-border flows of trade, investment, technical know-how and expertise between two treaty countries. Through the provisions of a DTA, taxpayers engaged in cross-border business can enjoy certainty on the taxing rights of either country, benefit from the elimination of double taxation, and gain access to a platform to settle tax disputes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on DTAs

For those who are new to DTAs and would like to find out more, please refer to the list of FAQs below. 

  1. What is a DTA?

    A DTA is a bilateral agreement which provides clarity on the taxing rights of each country on all forms of income flows between two countries. The DTA also eliminates instances of double taxation which can arise from cross-border trade and investment activities. Usually, there would be provisions in the DTA for reduction or exemption of tax at source on certain types of cross-border incomes such as interest and royalties. For more information on the ambit and coverage of a DTA, please refer to IRAS' DTA web-link.

  2. How are DTAs negotiated?

    As with any other bilateral treaty, there would have to be mutual interest from both countries before formal negotiations can be established. While it is expected for each country to push for terms that best serve its interests, compromises would have to be made to achieve an overall balance of benefits. Both sides may require more than one round of face-to-face meetings to resolve all outstanding issues and finalise the terms of the DTA.

    Upon the conclusion of negotiations, both countries would arrange for the DTA to be signed by the relevant authorities. Following the signing, both countries would have to ratify the DTA before it can enter into force.

    In the case of Singapore, once we receive an official notification from our DTA partner that they have completed their ratification procedures, we will proceed to publish the DTA text in the Singapore Government Gazette. The DTA enters into force on the date of our notification in the gazette.

  3. How do I seek assistance if I encounter a problem relating to the application of a particular DTA?

    The Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) Article of a DTA sets out the process to resolve issues relating to the application of the DTA.

    Taxpayers who wish to take up their issues under the MAP should approach the tax authority of the State in which they are a tax resident.