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 Serangoon North . 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 Serangoon North 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 Preparation Services 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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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).
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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.