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May 10, 2010

New tax institute launched in Singapore

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) has joined forces with the Tax Academy of Singapore to launch the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP).

The SIATP is the first accreditation body for tax professionals in Singapore and will promote tax practice standards and raise the capabilities of tax professionals in the country.

It will be chaired by ICPAS president Ernest Kan.

The ICPAS said the SIATP will enhance tax professionals’ employability through professional recognition and skills development.

The SIATP will also provide tax professionals with access to up-to-date industry knowledge through continuing professional education (CPE).

The ICPAS said providing these services will help the overall standards of client service and tax compliance in Singapore. 

The SIATP also complements recommendations made in a report by the Committee to Develop the Accountancy Sector (CDAS) last month, Singapore’s Second Minister for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua said at the institute’s launch.


Upgrading the profession

It is important for Singapore to develop “deeper” professional expertise in tax advisory work to service the increasing cross-border investments and transactions in the Asia-Pacific region, the ICPAS said.

“With more cross-border businesses and an increasingly complex tax environment, demand for highly-skilled tax professionals will increase,” Kan explained.

“SIATP will play a vital role in ensuring tax professionals are equipped with the right skills, which is imperative in an increasingly globalised business environment.

“SIATP will also serve to position Singapore as the regional centre of excellence in tax education and a leading regional tax hub.”


Government support

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore has supported the launch of the SIATP, saying upgrading the tax profession is an important component of its tax compliance framework.

Inland Revenue Commissioner Moses Lee said accredited tax practitioners will have the expertise and experience to better manage the tax affairs of their clients and provide value-added services and advice.

“I believe the higher standards of service and professionalism of the accredited tax practitioners will give them a strong competitive edge compared to those who are not, and will be preferred by companies and individuals who are in need of tax services,” Lee said.

Lee said firms engaged in tax compliance and advisory work should encourage staff to apply for accreditation.


Admission criteria

Tax professionals with five years of approved practical experience who have completed relevant exams can apply for the title of accredited tax advisor.

Tax professionals with three years of approved practical experience who have completed relevant exams can apply to be an accredited tax practitioner.

Tax professionals with either three years of approved practical experience or who have completed relevant exams can apply to be a accredited tax practitioner (provisional).

Members will also be required to fulfil a minimum number of CPE hours annually to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest tax changes.


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