Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) help to widen Singapore's economic space and strengthen its position as a global business hub. Currently, Singapore has more than 70 DTAs in force. Through the provisions of a DTA, taxpayers engaged in cross-border business can enjoy certainty on the taxing rights of both countries, benefit from the elimination of double taxation, and gain access to a platform to settle cross-border tax disputes.
Such provisions are mutually beneficial to the businesses of both Singapore and its DTA partners, and promote economic cooperation. Singapore regularly reviews its treaty network to ensure that the treaty terms remain relevant and that our DTAs continue to support the growth of substantive economic activities in Singapore.For the full texts of Singapore's DTAs, please refer to IRAS' website.
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.