Business Times: Singapore may be able to peek into bank accounts - Spear's Magazine

Business Times: Singapore may be able to peek into bank accounts

Sources are concerned that removing the court order process would dilute Singapore’s attractiveness as a trust jurisdiction

Trust industry associations have expressed “serious” concerns over the move to allow tax authorities to obtain bank and trust information from Singapore financial institutions without having to seek a court order.

BT understands that the concerns are expressed by the Singapore Trustees Association (STA) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Step) in documents submitted to the Ministry of Finance in response to the consultation exercise held last month. The MOF sought feedback to the proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act, which incorporate changes to the Exchange of Information (EOI) regime.

Sources are concerned that removing the court order process would dilute Singapore's attractiveness as a trust jurisdiction. Some fear clients may consider shifting money to other jurisdictions.

Said a trust adviser: “I don't think for the sake of streamlining you should do away with the court process. The court process gives confidence to very legitimate money.”

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