The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore, in partnership with Tax Academy of Singapore, has officially launched the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP), the first accreditation body for tax professionals in the country.
The SIATP aims to promote tax practice standards and raise the capabilities of tax professionals in Singapore. Accredited tax professionals can enjoy greater professional recognition and skills development, thereby enhancing their employability. They will have access to up to date industry knowledge through Continuing Professional Education, and sharpen their technical knowledge and competence. This will help overall standards of client servicing and tax compliance in Singapore, and contribute to Singapore’s position as an efficient and effective business hub. Clients and regulators will benefit from the increased level of technical competency of tax professionals and lower compliance costs.
The Asia Pacific accountancy services market is today the fastest-growing region for the global accountancy networks, and is forecasted to reach US$38.8 billion by 2013. One key area of focus for Singapore is to develop deeper professional expertise in tax advisory work, especially to service the increasing cross-border investments and transactions in the Asia-Pacific region.
“With more cross-border businesses and an increasingly complex tax environment, demand for highly-skilled tax professionals will increase," says Dr Ernest Kan, Chairman of the SIATP and President of the ICPAS. Kan adds the 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. The SIATP will also serve to position Singapore as the regional centre of excellence in tax education and a leading regional tax hub.
The SIATP enjoys strong support from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), as the upgrading of the tax profession is an important component of its tax compliance framework.
“Accredited tax practitioners would have the expertise and experience to better manage the tax affairs of their clients and provide value-added services and advice," notes Moses Lee, Commissioner of Inland Revenue. "This will help their clients comply with their tax obligations at the lowest possible cost. 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 urges the industry and accounting firms engaged in tax compliance and advisory work to encourage your staff to apply for accreditation.
Tax professionals with five years’ approved practical experience and completed relevant exams can apply for the title of Accredited Tax Advisor. Tax professionals with three years’ approved practical experience and have completed relevant exams can apply to be an Accredited Tax Practitioner (ATP). Tax professionals with either three years’ approved practical experience or completed relevant exams can apply to be a Accredited Tax Practitioner (Provisional).
Applicants will need to fulfill robust accreditation requirements that centre on having acquired approved practical experience in tax practice and/or having completed relevant examinations. They are also required to fulfill a minimum number of Continuing Professional Education hours annually, to ensure they are kept abreast of the latest tax changes.
For the first six months, tax professionals who sign up may be considered for admission under transitional admission requirements. SIATP members who apply for Tax Academy’s Advance Tax Programme will enjoy a 50 percent subsidy from the IRAS.