Global Forum Completes Peer Review of Singapore's International Tax Cooperation Framework15 Apr 2013
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (“the Global Forum”) has affirmed that Singapore’s exchange of information regime is in line with the internationally agreed Standard.
The Global Forum has completed its peer review of Singapore’s implementation of the internationally agreed Standard for exchange of information for tax purposes (“EOI Standard”). Singapore Phase 1 and Phase 2 peer review reports were adopted by the Global Forum on 1 June 2011 and 2 April 2013 respectively.
2 The peer review comprehensively examined whether Singapore’s legal and regulatory framework for transparency and exchange of information, as well as the practical implementation of that framework adhered to the internationally agreed EOI Standard.
3 The Phase 2 peer review report noted the following:
a) Singapore has extensive laws to ensure that ownership and identity information of relevant entities are available.
- Our laws provide for extensive registration and licensing requirements which, coupled with broad tax filing and reporting obligations, would guarantee that ownership and identity information is available for all types of companies, partnerships and trusts.
- In practice, compliance with these filing and reporting obligations are ensured by supervisory and enforcement measures by the Singapore authorities. Overall compliance with these obligations is very high in practice.
b) Singapore’s competent authority (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) has broad powers to access and obtain information from any person who holds the information, including the powers to search premises and seize information and to obtain written statements from relevant persons.
c) Singapore exchanges information with its EOI partners in an effective and timely manner.
- Singapore has in place appropriate organisational processes and resources to ensure the effective exchange of information with its EOI partners. IRAS is sufficiently resourced and staffed to ensure that information is exchanged in a timely manner.
- Singapore has provided the requested information in more than 300 requests over the last three years.
- Singapore is considered by its peers as an important and reliable EOI partner.
4 Since Singapore’s endorsement of the internationally agreed EOI Standard in March 2009, Singapore has actively sought to incorporate the Standard into its tax agreements. Currently, Singapore has signed 41 tax agreements which incorporate the Standard and we stand ready to update the 34 remaining tax agreements with the Standard anytime, as and when our partners are ready. This is in line with the Global Forum’s suggestion for Singapore to continue to update and expand its network of EOI partners.
5 Singapore’s representative to the Global Forum, Mrs Chia-Tern Huey Min, said: “The peer review assessment by the Global Forum has affirmed that Singapore’s exchange of information regime is in line with the international standard for transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. This signifies the international community’s recognition of Singapore’s role as a responsible financial centre and its commitment to combat cross border tax evasion through effective exchange of information.”
About the Global Forum
6 The Global Forum is a 120-member international organisation that assesses jurisdictions on their implementation of the EOI Standard through a two-phase peer review process. The first phase assesses if jurisdictions have the legislation including legal powers in place to implement the Standard. The second phase assesses if in practice, jurisdictions implement the Standard effectively.
7 The full peer review report can be found at http://www.eoi-tax.org/jurisdictions/SG#peerreview.
Ministry of Finance
15 April 2013