Singapore first published the Income Tax (International Tax Compliance Agreements) (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2016 (CRS Regulations) on 2 December 2016. These regulations entered into force on 1 January 2017. On 4 April 2017 and 10 April 2017, the Singapore authorities issued amendments to the Singapore Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Regulations and updates to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) CRS FAQs respectively.
Singapore has committed to implement the CRS, with the first exchange to take place by September 2018.
Automatic exchange of information (“AEOI”) based on the CRS refers to the regular exchange of financial account information between jurisdictions for tax purposes, with the objective of detecting and deterring tax evasion by taxpayers through the use of offshore bank accounts.
The CRS is an internationally agreed standard for AEOI on financial account information, endorsed by the OECD and the Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The CRS sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions (“FIs”) required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as the customer due diligence procedures to be followed by FIs. The CRS builds on the FATCA reporting regime to maximise efficiency and reduce costs for implementing jurisdictions and their FIs. More than 100 jurisdictions, including major financial centres such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland, have endorsed the CRS and will commence AEOI in either 2017 or 2018.
In June 2017, Singapore has signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreements (“MCAAs”) on:
The signing of both MCAAs reaffirms Singapore’s commitment to the international standards on tax cooperation. For both MCAAs, the principles are as follows:
In the case of CRS, Singapore will also want to ensure that there is a level playing field among all major financial centres. Singapore will consider engaging in automatic exchange of financial account information with regional jurisdictions which have the safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of information exchanged, and have similar agreements in place with relevant financial centres, including Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Under the CRS, a Participating Jurisdiction is a jurisdiction with which:
Singapore will consider all jurisdictions that have publicly and at government level committed to adopt the CRS by 2018 as Participating Jurisdictions. The list of Participating Jurisdictions will be updated at least once a year to reflect changes in jurisdictions’ commitment to and implementation of CRS, and will be published on IRAS’ CRS webpage.