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Singapore Endorses the OECD Standard for Exchange of Information

07 Mar 2009

Singapore has decided to endorse the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Standard for the effective exchange of information through Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs). To implement the Standard, we will introduce draft legislative amendments in the middle of 2009, before tabling the amendments in Parliament for approval. Following the amendments, Singapore will be able to extend further cooperation on information exchange through its DTAs, and hopes to negotiate and conclude further DTAs.

As the Ministry of Finance stated in Parliament on 10 February 2009, Singapore has been studying the Standard with a view to endorsing it. This follows the support for the Standard by the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters in October 2008. With this development, the Standard is becoming one which is supported by most countries, developed or developing, for DTAs.

The decision to endorse the OECD Standard is in keeping with Singapore's role as a trusted centre for finance and a responsible jurisdiction, with strong and consistent regulatory policies and a firm commitment to the rule of law. The Standard is consistent with Singapore's system of banking confidentiality, which does not shelter criminals.

The Standard does not preclude countries from having such confidentiality or privacy safeguards, and some OECD countries in fact have such safeguards under their common or civil law systems. Singapore will implement the Standard through our DTAs to assist on bona-fide requests for information rather than information fishing.

The Ministry of Finance will introduce the draft legislative amendments in the middle of 2009, as part of our annual Income Tax Act amendment cycle. Once the legislative amendments are passed in Parliament, Singapore is prepared to negotiate and conclude DTAs that will enable us to provide further assistance for the exchange of information.