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Singapore, U.S. to reach agreement on information sharing

Staff writer |
Singapore is close to agreement with the U.S. that will help its financial institutions comply with a rule requiring them to share information about overseas accounts held by American citizens.

Singapore's tax authority will also no longer need a court order to obtain bank and trust information requested by other nations, the Finance Ministry, central bank and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore said.

Wealthy individuals were holding $32 trillion offshore at the end of 2010, according to Tax Justice Network, a United Kingdom-based organization that campaigns for transparency in the financial system. Singapore will make laundering of profits from tax evasion a crime on July 1, 2013.

"These changes we are now making are a major enhancement, in step with the strengthening of international standards for exchange of information. There is no conflict between high standards of financial integrity and keeping our strengths as a center for managing wealth," said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Singapore will also increase the number of countries it is able to exchange information with for tax purposes from 41 to 83, the government announced. Singapore's agreement with the United States will enable its financial institutions to pass information to local authorities who will relay it to the U.S.

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