Singapore and Australia to Share Data to Lower Tax Evasion
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) and the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) have entered into a Competent Authority Agreement (“Agreement”) on the automatic exchange of financial account information (“AEOI”) based on the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”). The CRS is an internationally agreed standard for AEOI, endorsed by OECD and Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Information forTax Purposes (“GF”). 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. 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.
Singapore and Australia will commence AEOI under the CRS by September 2018. Under the Agreement, IRAS will automatically exchange with the ATO, financial account information of accounts in Singapore held by Australian tax residents while the ATO will automatically exchange with IRAS, financial account information of accounts in Australia held by Singapore tax residents. Both jurisdictions are satisfied with the confidentiality rules and data safeguards that are in place in the other jurisdiction to ensure the confidentiality of information exchanged and prevent its unauthorised use.
With the Agreement, Singapore and Australia have taken another step in enhancing cooperation to support greater tax transparency and fight against tax evasion. Both jurisdictions will work toward implementing AEOI with other major financial centres to ensure a level playing field.
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