Response to "Why tax amnesty failed to repatriate assets" - The Jakarta Post, 10 April 2017
I refer to the opinion piece by Mr Gatot Soepriyanto, “Why tax amnesty failed to repatriate assets” (The Jakarta Post, 10 April 2017), which unfortunately contained a number of inaccurate and misleading statements.
Firstly, contrary to what Mr Soepriyanto thought, Singapore does not require banks to file a suspicious transaction report (STR), or any report at all, when foreigners repatriate their assets. Companies and individuals, local or foreign, are free to send funds out of Singapore with no reporting required of them or their banks.
Secondly, Mr Soepriyanto misrepresented the STR filing requirement when a bank’s client pays a foreign tax authority as part of his participation in a tax amnesty programme. Singapore’s rules are not unique, and are not aimed at discouraging participation in such programmes. They follow international money-laundering standards, which require that banks file an STR whenever a client participates in a tax amnesty programme. Further, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had stated clearly, in a statement issued on 15 September 2016, that participation in a tax amnesty programme would not in and of itself lead to criminal investigation in Singapore. An investigation is launched only when there are reasons to suspect that a criminal offence under Singapore laws has been committed.
MAS had in July and September 2016, made public its advice to banks in Singapore to encourage their clients to use the opportunity accorded by tax amnesty programmes to regularise their tax affairs to the extent applicable to them. Singapore has not in any way discouraged or made it difficult for them to do so.
We would appreciate it if you could publish our reply in full.
Bey Mui Leng (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Monetary Authority of Singapore