MOF Accepts Most Suggestions In The Feedback On The Legislative Framework To Implement The Internationally Agreed Standard For Exchange Of Information For Tax Purposes15 Sep 2009
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.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE