Singapore ready to exchange account info with Indonesia

Singapore's Ministry of Finance said on July 12, 2017, that the country is ready to have an Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) relationship with Indonesia.
Singapore's Ministry of Finance said on July 12, 2017, that the country is ready to have an Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) relationship with Indonesia.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Swop of taxpayer financial data can start when Jakarta puts safeguards in place, says Indranee

Singapore stands ready to have a Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) relationship with Indonesia, as soon as Indonesia is ready, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah has said.

This includes Indonesia putting in place the internationally required confidentiality and data protection safeguards, before any exchange of information can take place, she added.

"On Singapore's side, these are in place, and we look forward to when Indonesia is able to let us know that the requirements have been met and this can be operationalised," Ms Indranee told reporters after attending the International Tax Conference in Jakarta yesterday.

Her comments followed an earlier report by The Jakarta Post that Indonesia and Singapore will soon sign a bilateral competent authority agreement (BCAA) to implement the AEOI.

The AEOI is a new standard that entails a regular exchange of taxpayer information, which may include details of their bank accounts and assets, for the authorities to take action against tax evasion.

The report also said the Indonesian government will "hunt down funds owned by Indonesians who park their money in Singapore, following an offer from Singapore to allow Indonesia access to the financial data of Indonesians in the neighbouring country".

Singapore had, on June 21, signed two international agreements aimed at making it easier for the country to exchange tax information with other jurisdictions as part of ongoing global efforts to combat tax evasion and money laundering, as well as improve tax transparency.

  • 60%

    Estimated percentage of one quadrillion rupiah (S$103.3 billion) worth of assets kept abroad by wealthy Indonesians that is banked in Singapore.

    2

    Number of international agreements signed by Singapore on June 21 aimed at making it easier for the country to exchange tax information with other jurisdictions.

Called multilateral competent authority agreements (MCAAs), they lay out an international framework to facilitate the automatic exchange of tax information, hence avoiding the need for countries to conclude multiple bilateral agreements.

The first agreement covers the AEOI under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), and the second covers the exchange of country-by-country reports.

Ms Indranee said that following the signing of the MCAA on the AEOI under the CRS, Singapore and Indonesia have both listed each other as partners.

"And with the multilateral competent authority agreement, or MCAA, it won't be necessary to have a bilateral agreement because it is actually provided for in the framework of the MCAA," she said when asked about the BCAA with Indonesia.

Singapore's Ministry of Finance, responding to queries from The Straits Times yesterday, also confirmed that it has been working closely with its Indonesian counterparts to ensure both parties can commence reciprocal exchange of information.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on the sidelines of the tax conference yesterday that her ministry will maintain communications with Singapore with regard to the AEOI agreements.

She estimated previously that about 60 per cent of one quadrillion rupiah (S$103.3 billion) worth of assets kept abroad by wealthy Indonesians is banked in Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore ready to exchange account info with Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe