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By Lee Wei 17 Jul, 2017
Singapore has signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCCA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, with the intended first information exchange date on September 2018. While Singapore has been establishing AEOI (CRS) relationships via the bilateral approach, the signing of the CRS MCCA reaffirms Singapore's commitment to international standards on tax cooperation. In addition, the AEOI relationships remain bilateral under the MCAA - signatories to the MCAA enter into the AEOI on a bilateral basis with another signatory on a mutual consent basis. 

Thus, this agreement facilitates the establishment of proper bilateral AEOI relationships with Singapore's treaty partners. 93 signatories have currently signed the CRS MCAA, with the earliest exchange of information in to take place in September 2017. Other signatories of the CRS MCAA include countries such as China, Indonesia, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia to name a few.

As part of the agreement, Singapore also indicated that it will consider engaging in automatic exchange of financial account information that have the necessary safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of information exchanged. However, exchange of information will not take place with parties that do not have the necessary safeguards in place to ensure confidentiality of information exchanged.  

One such example of a country that is putting in place the necessary safeguards to exchange information with Singapore is Indonesia.  Earlier in July, it was reported by the Jakarta Post that Singapore and Indonesia will soon sign a bilateral competent authority agreement (BCAA) to implement the AEOI. The Government also issued regulations in May 2017 that revoke secrecy regulations to provide the Indonesian Tax Authority (Direktorat Jenderal Pajak) with access to obtain financial account information for the purpose of AEOI.
According to Indonesia's Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani , the two countries are due to 'meet later in September' where the OECD will review if the necessary safeguards are in place to facilitate  AEOI between Singapore and Indonesia.
 It is estimated that 60 percent of S$103.3 billion worth of assets kept abroad by wealthy Indonesians is banked in Singapore. 
By Lee Wei 14 Jul, 2017
Tax regulation has come under increasing levels of scrutiny in recent years, with over 142 jurisdictions making an international commitment to begin Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) in 2018. Some of these jurisdictions are Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Switzerland to name a few. For a full list of countries participating in the AEOI, you can refer to this OECD  report .

The main purpose of this exchange is for tax authorities to detect and deter taxpayers that have kept their un-taxed money in accounts held in foreign financial institutions. An internationally agreed standard known as the Common Reporting standard (CRS) is also in place to facilitate this exchange of such financial information information.  Endorsed by the OECD and the Global Forum, participating jurisdictions have agreed to comply and implement the AEOI standard to exchange information by 2018. Singaporean Financial Institutions who are adopting to this new standard will be required to transmit to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) information of their account holders who are tax residents of jurisidictions that Singapore has a Competent Authority Agreement (CAA) for CRS with.
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