Singapore continues to fortify its regulatory framework, showcasing a commitment to global standards while fostering a conducive environment for business growth and innovation. In this comprehensive update, key regulatory developments of November 2023 have been highlighted, each reflecting Singapore’s proactive stance towards enhancing financial integrity, fostering transparent business practices, and adapting to the evolving global landscape.
Singapore Undertakes to Implement the Crypto Asset Reporting Framework
Singapore’s Inland Revenue Authority (IRAS) announced on November 10, 2023, its pledge to join 47 other jurisdictions in implementing the Crypto Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) by 2027. This global initiative, introduced in June 2023, aims to facilitate the automatic exchange of tax-relevant information on crypto assets. The CARF’s primary objective is to address the rapid expansion of the crypto asset market while maintaining global tax transparency and accountability.
In line with its dedication to international tax standards, Singapore actively participates in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. Furthermore, Singapore, among other signatories to the Common Reporting Standard, will implement adjustments in accordance with OECD’s guidelines from June 2023. By committing to these initiatives, Singapore underscores its commitment to upholding global standards for tax transparency, fostering a regulatory environment that fosters accountability and consistency in handling crypto assets.
MAS Introduces Stringent Regulations for Digital Payment Token Services
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has unveiled comprehensive responses to feedback on proposed regulations for Digital Payment Token (DPT) service providers. These regulations are pivotal in shaping the landscape of digital currencies in Singapore, focusing on business conduct, consumer access, and risk management among DPT service providers.
The proposed measures concentrate on mitigating potential consumer harm by setting minimum requirements for technology and cyber risk management. These encompass guidelines for business conduct, aiming to promote transparency, identify conflicts of interest, regulate DPT listing policies, and ensure effective customer complaint handling.
In terms of consumer access, MAS aims to deter cryptocurrency speculation among retail customers. The regulations seek to assess customer risk awareness, prohibit certain transactions, and encourage responsible dealings in the realm of digital payment tokens.
Additionally, MAS emphasizes the need for robust technology and cyber risk management among DPT service providers, aligning these standards with those imposed on financial institutions. These regulations will be phased in from mid-2024, allowing providers time to integrate and comply fully.
Singapore and Cambodia Sign Second Protocol Amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement
On November 2, 2023, the Republic of Singapore and the Kingdom of Cambodia signed the Second Protocol amending their Double Taxation Agreement (DTA). This move aims to align the agreement with current international standards, particularly the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) framework.
The signing ceremony in Cambodia involved Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, and Ms. Teo Lay Cheng, Singapore’s Ambassador to Cambodia. The Second Protocol introduces changes to the DTA’s preamble and adds Article 28 (Entitlement of Benefits), complying with globally agreed measures to prevent treaty abuse.
This amendment underscores the commitment of both countries to ensure that their DTA remains contemporary and aligned with global standards. Once ratified by both nations, the Second Protocol will become effective and is available for review on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s website.
ACRA and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore Unveil the Intangibles Disclosure Framework
Singapore’s Intellectual Property Office (IPOS) and the ACRA have launched the Intangibles Disclosure Framework (IDF) as part of the Singapore IP Strategy 2030. Alongside this release, new resources are available to assist enterprises in managing their Intellectual Property (IP).
Recognizing that over 90% of the S&P 500’s value is composed of Intangible Assets (IAs), the IDF aims to guide enterprises in systematically disclosing and communicating the value of their IAs. This standardized disclosure helps stakeholders understand an enterprise’s business and financial prospects, improving investment decisions and risk management.
The framework includes four key pillars:
- Strategy: Communicates how intangibles contribute to corporate strategy and value creation.
- Identification: Discloses the nature and characteristics of different IA categories for comparison.
- Measurement: Reveals quantitative metrics used to evaluate IA performance and financial health.
- Management: Discloses processes for identifying, assessing, and managing IA-related risks and opportunities.
Enterprises can leverage new resources introduced as part of this initiative:
- GoBusiness IP Grow Platform: Connects enterprises with IA or IP service providers and offers access to live, customized e-Advisor tools.
- IP Ready Programme: Helps enterprises build capabilities to manage IP, partnering with an IP strategist for IA strategy development and institutionalizing IP management processes.
New ACRA Anti-Money Laundering Rules Won’t Hinder Singapore’s Business Ease
Singapore’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime is set to receive upgrades following recent events. While welcomed by corporate service providers for strengthening Singapore’s financial standing, they caution against a disproportionate impact on legitimate business and foreign investment.
The response to recent money laundering-related arrests includes enhancing the ACRA’s AML regime. The proposed changes align with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, aiming to prevent money laundering activities facilitated by shell companies. Service providers acknowledge the need for improvements but stress the importance of a balanced, measured approach.
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