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Protocol to Tax Treaty between Latvia and Singapore has Entered into Force

According to an update from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, the amending protocol to the 1999 income tax treaty with Latvia entered into force on 3 August 2018. The protocol, signed 20 April 2017, makes the following changes:

  • Article 3 (General Definitions) is amended with respect to the definition of "Singapore";
  • Article 5 (Permanent Establishment) is amended to provide that a construction PE will be deemed constituted if the site, project or activity lasts for a period of more than twelve months (originally nine months) and that a service PE will be deemed constituted if the service activities continue for a period or periods aggregating more than 183 days within any 12-month period (originally no service PE provisions);
  • Article 10 (Dividends) is amended to provide for a 0% withholding tax rate if the beneficial owner is a company, otherwise 10% (originally 5% if holding at least 25% of capital; otherwise 10%), and to adjust the government entities eligible for exemption with respect to Singapore;
  • Article 11 (Interest) is amended to provide for a 0% withholding tax rate if the beneficial owner is the government of a Contracting State, a financial institution, or a company resident of a Contracting State, or where the interest is paid in respect of a loan, debt-claim or credit that is guaranteed or insured by the Government of either Contracting State, otherwise 10% (originally just 10%, with an exemption for government);
  • Article 12 (Royalties) is amended to provide for a 5% withholding tax rate (originally 7.5%), and to adjust the definition (scope) of royalties, including the removal of the use of, or the right to use, industrial, commercial or scientific equipment from the scope of royalties;
  • Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 22 (Limitation of Benefit) are deleted - The paragraphs relate to the provision that an exemption or reduction of tax allowed under the treaty in Latvia may be limited to the amount of income remitted to or received in Singapore (as opposed to the full amount of income from Latvian sources);
  • Article 24 (Non-Discrimination) is amended with the removal of the provision that the Article will apply to persons who are not residents of one or both of the Contracting States;
  • Article 26 (Exchange of Information) is replaced to bring it in line with OECD standards; and
  • Article 29 (Termination) is amended to include provisions with respect to requests made under Article 26 (Exchange of Information).

The protocol applies in Latvia from 1 January 2019 and applies in Singapore in respect of withholding taxes from 1 January 2019 and for other taxes from 1 January 2020. The new Article 26, however, applies for requests made on or after the date of the protocol's entry into force (3 August 2018).

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