Which is an ideal jurisdiction for company incorporation in Asia? Singapore and Hong Kong have been dominant players in the Asian region, vying for the position of “the best place to do business.” But the crucial questions are, which of these jurisdictions have an edge over the other? Is incorporating a business easier in Singapore or in Hong Kong?
Strategic location and attractive tax benefits make Singapore the most preferred location for the overseas companies to set up their business. Various options are – opening up a Branch Office, a Representative Office or a Subsidiary in Sin Ming . The country also has liberal immigration policies. If the company wants to set up their regional head quarters in Singapore they are also provided with Financial Assistance.
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A key determinant for setting up a business in Sin Ming is the tax regime in force. In this regard Singapore boast of being one of the lowest tax jurisdictions in the world. Detailed below is an overview of the tax system and Tax Planning in Singapore.
Tax jurisdiction Singapore: Taxes are levied on a territorial principle i.e. companies and individuals are taxed on Singapore sourced income. In addition, the Foreign sourced income (branch profits, dividends, service income, etc.) are taxed when it is remitted or deemed remitted into Singapore unless the income was already subjected to taxes in a jurisdiction with headline tax rates of at least 15%.
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Business disputes are an inevitable fact of life. In a competitive world-be it with local business transactions or on the other side of the world in Singapore-business law is a necessary tool for running an enterprise. A small business attorney is often as much a partner to a corporation as are tax accountants, marketing consultants, and human resource recruiters.
In the U.S., business law is largely the same. Business laws are written to establish fairness and a means of resolving disputes. The process is orderly and predictable, even if the outcomes are not always assured. Following is the process your attorney guides you through in business-to-business litigation:
- ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) - This is a court-supervised approach to avoiding litigation, seeking to resolve the dispute in a speedy, efficient and inexpensive way. Both parties must agree to participate in this process.
- File the claim - Your attorney formally makes this filing to the court and the defendant, stating your dispute and asking for a specific settlement.
- Discovery - Both plaintiffs and defendants must be amenable to allowing business records to be examined by the other party in gathering evidence. Employees and agents may be required to provide testimony in advance as well.
- Proceed to trial - If pre-trial attempts at settlement are unsuccessful, the plaintiff and defendant must meet in court to make their arguments. The court will render its judgment at the close of the trial.
- Appeals court - If a matter of how the trial was conducted is in dispute, or new evidence surfaces that is germane, a higher court can rule on the judgment. At times, decisions can be reversed.
Note that the ADR approach comes with its own set of rules. Impartial, neutral parties that include mediators, case evaluators, and arbitrators must facilitate the discussions and resolution. The mediation focuses on needs and interests instead of rights and positions, whereas the settlement is ultimately voluntary. Non-binding arbitration results in rendering a decision, but either party can reject the decision and choose instead to pursue a trial in court.
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Strategic location and attractive tax benefits make Singapore the most preferred location for the overseas companies to set up their business. Various options are - opening up a Branch Office, a Representative Office or a Subsidiary. The country also has liberal immigration policies. If the company wants to set up their regional head quarters in Singapore they are also provided with Financial Assistance.
Branch Office - Registration of the branch office is done by ACRA and it is treated as an extension of the foreign company. It is the least popular option with foreign companies because
- Head office accounts have to be submitted for taxation purposes. Many companies may not be comfortable doing this.
- Head office bears all the liabilities of the actions of branch office
- Branch office cannot claim local tax benefits
The name of the Branch Office and the foreign office must be same and should be approved by ACRA before registration. Branch office has to appoint two agents that are resident in Singapore. The Branch office can repatriate all its earnings and capital. Only that part of earnings derived from local operations are taxed at local tax rates.
Subsidiary Company - This is the most preferred option for setting up business by the foreign companies because:
- Its liabilities are not transferred to parent company. It is considered a separate company.
- It enjoys the local taxation benefits.
- It can have a local name which is different from the parent company.
One or more directors need to be appointed and at least one director has to be a local resident.
Representative Office - It is used for having a presence in the country while not conducting any business activity. It does not have any legal status and cannot enter into any contracts.
- It can undertake promotional activities for the parent company
- It can negotiate but cannot conclude on deals
- Parent company bears liability for activities of the office.
- It must be staffed by at least one representative from the head office
International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) is the registration authority for Representative Offices for manufacturing, business services, commerce and other sectors. Banking, finance, insurance needs to be registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).