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 Kovan . 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 Kovan 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 Business Registration 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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The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has imposed a new scheme known as the Production and Innovation Credit (PIC) to benefit logistics companies in Singapore. For several years IRAS was designing strategies for logistics department to be at par with international companies of Japan and China so they came up with PIC.
The several ways PIC Grant can benefit the logistics companies are listed below:
Funds for automated machines
The PIC scheme has been very beneficial for the logistics companies as they can purchase automated machines and devices. The entire funding is covered by IRAS PIC Grant. As a result, the companies can reach higher levels with increased production and returns. The automated machines also reduce the cost of extra labour and the job can be finished in less time. The productivity becomes higher resulting in greater profits thus competing in the international market.
The experts of IRAS also help these companies to come up with efficient strategies to enhance their productivity. The highly educated panel of IRAS has a lot of experience when it comes to managing financial growth of a company. In most of the cases, the managers of these logistics company are not well accustomed with the strategies to match the international standards. A proper analysis by the IRAS experts will ultimately lead to higher sales and improve the quality of their service.
Logistics companies are a huge blunder when it comes to paying taxes. The tax keeps on mounting and at the end, the companies have to pay a large sum compromising their profit. So the IRAS comes into the scenario and helps these companies set up various plans to solve problems regarding taxation. There can be tax deductions up to 400% in several cases. This will help the companies to provide their services at a cheaper rate to beat their competitors.
The cash pay-out option
The small and growing businesses are the ones who can be hugely benefitted by this cash pay-out option. To aid these companies the Singapore government has come up with many strategies so that they can reach the heights of big companies. With the cash pay-out option, the financially distressed companies can invest in modern equipment and improve their standards.
Productivity along with improvement of Logistics Companies
The PIC Grant, 2014 offers productivity with improvement of the companies all at the same time. There are certain regulations and to be eligible, these companies need to invest in several areas of Singapore economy. This will ultimately benefit the logistics companies but at the same time, the government is doing its part.
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Tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) is an agreement between parties to transfer domestic tax information. It possesses no benefit to private third party. In fact, the government is the only party getting the benefit. The existence of such an arrangement will affect financial secrecy. It is considered as an important feature for some offshore investors. Experts of offshore banking and investments would not suggest their clients to do business in a country with a TIEA attachment.
TIEA is implemented to avoid a harmful tax practice. According to Organization For The Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the lack of effective exchange of information is one of the key criteria in determining harmful tax practices. It even has a working group aimed to develop a legal instrument that could be used to establish effective exchange of information. The Agreement represents the standard of effective exchange of information for the purposes of the OECD's initiative on harmful tax practices. The OECD even has developed a manual and tool-kit for automating the process of information exchange between countries. It also lists countries, which deemed to be unco-operative. Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco listed by The OECD's Committee on Fiscal Affairs as unco-operative tax havens.
A recent act by the OECD was forcing tax haven characterized countries to favour for greater transparency and exchange of information. Singapore and Hong Kong was among the countries devoted to such and arrangements with OECD countries. Both of them were categorized as a tax haven country by offshore specialists.
For individuals this could means less privacy and little space to move. Tax haven is great place for an internet-based business. Own a monetized website, create an offshore account in a tax haven country, and you have a tax-free income. However, this strategy would soon be neglected, since the information and exchange agreement would be implemented and propagate rapidly. For your own convenience, offshore investment as a tax avoiding strategy should not be relied on. Contact a well-known CPA's or tax consultants for a better and legal tax minimizing strategy.