1. The Ministry of Finance is conducting a public consultation on the proposed amendments in the draft Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2013 relating to the recent changes we have made to our Exchange of Information (EOI) regime.
2. The Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have previously engaged the financial industry on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) changes earlier this year. The changes to our EOI regime were subsequently announced to the public on 14 May 2013.
3. The Ministry of Finance is now seeking feedback on the proposed legislative amendments to effect these changes. We invite the public to give their feedback on the proposed amendments to the Bill. The public consultation will be held from 18 July to 31 July 2013.
4. The Ministry of Finance had announced the following measures that Singapore will be taking to strengthen our framework for international tax cooperation:
a) Extend EOI assistance in accordance with the internationally agreed Standard to all our existing tax agreement partners, without having to update individually our bilateral tax agreements with them;
b) Allow IRAS to obtain bank and trust information from financial institutions for EOI purposes without having to seek a Court Order. While Singapore has been able to respond promptly to most requests for information from its foreign partners, removing the requirement for a Court Order will further streamline the administration of EOI under the Standard. It will not undermine the basic safeguards to taxpayers, as IRAS will continue to assess the validity of the requests with respect to the Standard, and taxpayers will continue to have the right of appeal.
c) Conclude with the United States an Intergovernmental Agreement and implement it to facilitate Singapore financial institutions’ compliance with FATCA.
5. The Ministry of Finance welcomes the public to provide feedback at this public consultation exercise. The public may access the consultation documents for the draft Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2013 on the Ministry of Finance's website (www.mof.gov.sg) and the REACH consultation portal (www.reach.gov.sg). Respondents may send their comments to the Ministry of Finance directly via the website, email, fax or post.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
18 JULY 2013