In its ruling dated July 24, 2017 (Ref. No.: Tai-Cai-Ji-Zi-10624512120), the Ministry of Finance (the "MOF") amended the "Reviewing Rules for Information Exchange Request Made or Received Pursuant to Income Tax Treaties" (the "Reviewing Rules"), which was promulgated on April 21, 2016, in order to better coordinate with the upcoming practices in international tax information exchange.
Nearly a hundred countries have officially signed to participate in the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) proposed by the OECD, and two rounds of international tax information exchange will occur in September 2017 and September 2018, respectively, among those signatories. While ROC is not officially a signatory to the CRS, it could not be ignorant of the trend of international tax information exchange. Therefore, the ROC government intends to conduct tax information exchanges similar to that under the CRS with other countries via the existing income tax treaty framework of the ROC.
In this regard, the Tax Collection Act (the "TCA") had been amended on June 14, 2017, to introduce the newly added Articles 5-1 and 46-1, which authorize the MOF to conduct tax information exchanges with other countries legally, without being restricted by the confidentiality provisions under the TCA or the other laws or regulations. Articles 5-1 and 46-1 apply to the income tax treaties which had contained tax information exchange provisions or other tax assistance provisions before the June 14, 2017 amendment as well.
Pursuant to Item 4 of the amended Reviewing Rules, the subject person and the kind of tax the information of which would be exchanged under income tax treaties are as follows:
(I) The subject person is limited to the person who is a resident of the ROC, a resident of the other signatory to the treaty, or a resident of both, unless the applicable income tax treaty stipulates otherwise.
(II) The kind of tax is limited to the income tax levied by the ROC, or by the other signatory to the treaty, unless the applicable income tax treaty stipulates otherwise.
Furthermore, if the one of the following conditions regarding the other signatory to the treaty is found to be existent after further examination, then no information exchanges could be conducted:
(I) The other signatory to the treaty is unable to provide the equivalent information to the ROC.
(II) The other signatory to the treaty has obvious difficulties in keeping confidential the information it obtained.
(III) The information requested by the other signatory to the treaty is not for tax purposes.
(IV) The provision of the information requested would cause damages to the public interests of the ROC.
(V) The other signatory to the treaty files the information request without first exhausting its investigation procedures available.