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Cablegate: Singapore Tax Info Sharing Amendments Enter Into Force

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGP #0176 0430934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120934Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7817
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 000176

STATE PASS USTR

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN EINV SN

SUBJECT: SINGAPORE TAX INFO SHARING AMENDMENTS ENTER INTO FORCE

REF: A) 09 SINGAPORE 623; B) 09 SINGAPORE 1016

1. (SBU) Amendments to Singapore's Income Tax Act went into force
February 9, putting into effect new exchange of information sharing
provisions that meet Organization of Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) standards. Singapore drafted the amendments
after the OECD included Singapore on a "grey list" of countries that
had endorsed internationally agreed tax standards, but had yet to
substantially implement them (ref A). The amendments enable
Singapore authorities to share tax information with countries with
which it has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA), without regard for
whether it has a domestic tax interest.

2. (SBU) Since the OECD placed Singapore on its grey list in April
2009, Singapore has renegotiated 18 DTAs with other countries to
include the new exchange of information provisions. The OECD
required countries on the list to renegotiate at least twelve DTAs
in order to exit the list, a task Singapore accomplished in
November. With the tax amendments now in force, Parliament will
move soon to ratify the agreements, FOO Guozhi, Head of
International Tax at the Ministry of Finance told Econoff. Many of
the DTAs will come into force immediately thereafter, though Foo
said Singapore is still awaiting notification of ratification of the
agreements from some other signatories.

3. (SBU) With the passage of the income tax amendments and the new
exchange of information provisions, the GOS is hopeful that this
will remove one of the barriers toward negotiating a DTA with the
United States (ref B). Earlier discussions had foundered on a
number of issues, including exchange of information. Ministry of
Finance officials have told Emboffs that they see no barriers
remaining to completing an agreement with the United States.

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