Singapore to strengthen network of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation (DTAs)

26 July 2012

At the International Tax Forum organised by the Tax Academy & CPA Australia held on 23 July 2012 to discuss Global Tax Trends and the Asian Growth Story, Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Finance and Transport has said that Singapore will actively pursue opportunities for new DTAs to further expand her existing network of agreements.

“Singapore is mindful of the need to provide a conducive environment for businesses to invest and grow internationally…”, states Mrs Josephine Teo. This will be done through a two-fold strategy by strengthening the network of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation (DTAs) and by easing compliance with tax rules.

In terms of the DTAs, Singapore has signed 22 new DTAs in the last decade, bringing it to a total of 69 DTAs today. Among the top 15 source countries for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Singapore, Singapore has DTAs with nine, including the Netherlands, Japan and the United Kingdom. Among the top 15 destinations for FDI originating from Singapore, it has DTAs with 10.

In a study done by PwC, the World Bank and IFC which measures the ease of paying taxes across 183 economies worldwide, Singapore was ranked fourth overall. It was estimated that a medium-sized business in Singapore took 84 hours per annum to pay taxes and make CPF contributions compared to the global average of 277 hours per annum.

Total trade flows have more than doubled to reach nearly one trillion dollars or about 3.2 times of GDP and with Singapore being a global hub for businesses with increasing cross-border trade and investment flows, Mrs Josephine Teo reiterated that it is imperative that tax professionals raise their international tax competency to keep up with their clients’ needs.

Source: Ministry of Finance (MOF)