Doing business in singapore 2018 - BDO Ireland

Doing business in singapore 2018 - BDO Ireland
DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE
2018
Editors:

Africa: Ridha Hamzaoui, Emily Muyaa
Asia-Pacific: Mei-June Soo, Nina Umar
Caribbean: Priscilla Lachman, Sandy van Thol
Europe: Larisa Gerzova, Adrián Grant Hap, Ivana Kireta, Magdalena Olejnicka, Andreas Perdelwitz,
Marnix Schellekens, Kristina Trouch, Ruxandra Vlasceanu
Middle East: Ridha Hamzaoui
Latin America: Vanessa Arruda Ferreira, Maria Bocachica, Diana Calderón Manrique, Lydia Ogazón Juárez
North America: John Rienstra, Julie Rogers-Glabush

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DOING BUSINESS IN
   SINGAPORE
   ARGENTINA

   JANUARY 2018
           2013
DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


INTRODUCTION
This publication has been prepared by the International Bureau of Fiscal Documen-
tation (IBFD) on behalf of BDO, its clients and prospective clients. Its aim is to
provide the essential background information on the taxation aspects of setting up
and running a business in this country. It is of use to anyone who is thinking of estab-
lishing a business in this country as a separate entity, as a branch of a foreign
company or as a subsidiary of an existing foreign company. It also covers the essen-
tial background tax information for individuals considering coming to work or live
permanently in this country.
This publication covers the most common forms of business entity and the taxation
aspects of running or working for such a business. For individual taxpayers, the
important taxes to which individuals are likely to be subject are dealt with in some
detail. We have endeavoured to include the most important issues, but it is not fea-
sible to discuss every subject in comprehensive detail within this format. If you
would like to know more, please contact the BDO firm(s) with which you normally
deal. Your adviser will be able to provide you with information on any further issues
and on the impact of any legislation and developments subsequent to the date men-
tioned at the heading of each chapter.

  About BDO
 BDO is an international network of public accounting, tax and advisory firms
 which perform professional services under the name of BDO. The global fee
 income of BDO firms, including the members of their exclusive alliances, was
 US$8.1 billion in 2017. These firms have representation in 162 countries and ter-
 ritories, with over 73,800 people working out of 1,500 offices worldwide.
 BDO’s brand promise is to be the leader for exceptional client service - always,
 and everywhere. When you choose to work with BDO you quickly discover why
 we’re different from the rest. BDO offers a comprehensive collection of high
 quality tax services and assets designed to support exceptional performance, and
 all our tax engagements benefit from the hands-on involvement of experienced
 professionals, backed by world-class resources. We are agile enough to handle
 the biggest and the smallest names in the industries we serve, and our relation-
 ship-driven culture means that we can provide responsive and personalised
 advice to all our clients.
 We work hard to understand our clients’ businesses and ensure that we match
 both our service offering and our people to their complex individual needs. We
 believe that providing our clients with access to experienced professionals who
 are actively engaged in addressing their tax and business issues is the most reli-
 able way to provide exceptional service, always with a strong focus on trust and
 transparency.
 Regardless of your location, size or international ambitions we can provide effec-
 tive support as you expand into new areas of the world. In an ever-evolving eco-
 nomic environment, businesses need a global organisation that provides
 exceptional, bespoke service combined with local knowledge and expertise. BDO
 is uniquely positioned to serve this demand, providing effective support and a
 truly global integrated global footprint.




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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CORPORATE TAXATION ..........................................................................          9
INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................    9
1. CORPORATE INCOME TAX .....................................................................           9
   1.1. TYPE OF TAX SYSTEM .......................................................................      9
   1.2. TAXABLE PERSONS ..........................................................................      9
        1.2.1. Residence ..........................................................................     9
   1.3. TAXABLE INCOME ............................................................................    10
        1.3.1. General ............................................................................    10
        1.3.2. Exempt income ...................................................................       10
        1.3.3. Deductions .........................................................................    10
        1.3.4. Depreciation and amortization ................................................          11
        1.3.5. Reserves and provisions .........................................................       11
   1.4. CAPITAL GAINS ..............................................................................   12
   1.5. LOSSES .....................................................................................   12
        1.5.1. Ordinary losses ...................................................................     12
        1.5.2. Capital losses .....................................................................    12
   1.6. RATES ......................................................................................   12
        1.6.1. Income and capital gains ........................................................       12
        1.6.2. Withholding taxes on domestic payments ....................................             13
   1.7. INCENTIVES .................................................................................   13
   1.8. ADMINISTRATION ............................................................................    13
        1.8.1. Taxable period ....................................................................     13
        1.8.2. Tax returns and assessment ....................................................         13
        1.8.3. Payment of tax ...................................................................      14
        1.8.4. Rulings .............................................................................   14
2. TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN RESIDENT COMPANIES .........................................                   14
   2.1. GROUP TREATMENT .........................................................................      14
   2.2. INTERCOMPANY DIVIDENDS ...................................................................     14
3. OTHER TAXES ON INCOME ....................................................................          15
   3.1. BRANCH PROFITS TAX .......................................................................     15
   3.2. CASINO TAX .................................................................................   15
4. TAXES ON PAYROLL ............................................................................       15
   4.1. PAYROLL TAX ...............................................................................    15
   4.2. SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS ...........................................................      15
5. TAXES ON CAPITAL .............................................................................      17
   5.1. NET WORTH TAX ............................................................................     17
   5.2. REAL ESTATE TAX ...........................................................................    17
6. INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS .....................................................................         18
   6.1. RESIDENT COMPANIES .......................................................................     18
        6.1.1. Foreign income and capital gains ..............................................         18
        6.1.2. Foreign losses .....................................................................    19
        6.1.3. Foreign capital ....................................................................    19
        6.1.4. Double taxation relief ...........................................................      19
   6.2. NON-RESIDENT COMPANIES ..................................................................      20
        6.2.1. Taxes on income and capital gains ............................................          20
        6.2.2. Taxes on capital ..................................................................     20
        6.2.3. Administration ....................................................................     21
   6.3. WITHHOLDING TAXES ON PAYMENTS TO NON-RESIDENT COMPANIES ...........................            21
        6.3.1. Dividends ..........................................................................    21
        6.3.2. Interest ............................................................................   21
        6.3.3. Royalties ...........................................................................   21

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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                                      TABLE OF CONTENTS


           6.3.4.   Other ...............................................................................   21
           6.3.5.   Withholding tax rates chart ....................................................        22
7. ANTI-AVOIDANCE ...............................................................................           26
   7.1. GENERAL ...................................................................................         26
   7.2. TRANSFER PRICING ..........................................................................         27
   7.3. THIN CAPITALIZATION .......................................................................         29
   7.4. CONTROLLED FOREIGN COMPANY ............................................................             29
8. VALUE ADDED TAX .............................................................................            29
   8.1. GENERAL ...................................................................................         29
   8.2. TAXABLE PERSONS ..........................................................................          29
   8.3. TAXABLE EVENTS ............................................................................         29
   8.4. TAXABLE AMOUNT ...........................................................................          29
   8.5. RATES ......................................................................................        30
   8.6. EXEMPTIONS ................................................................................         30
   8.7. NON-RESIDENTS .............................................................................         30
9. MISCELLANEOUS TAXES .......................................................................              30
   9.1. CAPITAL DUTY ..............................................................................         30
   9.2. TRANSFER TAX ..............................................................................         31
        9.2.1. Immovable property .............................................................             31
        9.2.2. Shares, bonds and other securities ............................................              31
   9.3. STAMP DUTY ................................................................................         31
   9.4. CUSTOMS DUTY .............................................................................          32
   9.5. EXCISE DUTY ................................................................................        32
INDIVIDUAL TAXATION ...........................................................................             33
INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................         33
1. INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX ......................................................................             33
   1.1. TAXABLE PERSONS ..........................................................................          33
   1.2. TAXABLE INCOME ............................................................................         33
         1.2.1. General ............................................................................        33
         1.2.2. Exempt income ...................................................................           34
   1.3. EMPLOYMENT INCOME .......................................................................           34
         1.3.1. Salary ...............................................................................      34
         1.3.2. Benefits in kind ...................................................................        34
         1.3.3. Pension income ...................................................................          35
         1.3.4. Directors’ remuneration ........................................................            35
   1.4. BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL INCOME .......................................................            35
   1.5. INVESTMENT INCOME ........................................................................          35
   1.6. CAPITAL GAINS ..............................................................................        36
   1.7. PERSONAL DEDUCTIONS, ALLOWANCES AND CREDITS .........................................               36
         1.7.1. Deductions .........................................................................        36
         1.7.2. Allowances ........................................................................         36
         1.7.3. Credits .............................................................................       38
   1.8. LOSSES .....................................................................................        38
   1.9. RATES ......................................................................................        38
         1.9.1. Income and capital gains ........................................................           38
         1.9.2. Withholding taxes ................................................................          39
   1.10. ADMINISTRATION ............................................................................        39
         1.10.1. Taxable period ....................................................................        39
         1.10.2. Tax returns and assessment ....................................................            39
         1.10.3. Payment of tax ...................................................................         39
         1.10.4. Rulings .............................................................................      39
2. OTHER TAXES ON INCOME ....................................................................               39



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TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


3. SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS ..........................................................            40
4. TAXES ON CAPITAL .............................................................................      41
   4.1. NET WEALTH TAX ...........................................................................     41
   4.2. REAL ESTATE TAX ...........................................................................    41
   4.3. OTHER TAXES ...............................................................................    41
5. INHERITANCE AND GIFT TAXES ...............................................................          41
   5.1. TAXABLE PERSONS ..........................................................................     41
   5.2. TAXABLE BASE ..............................................................................    41
   5.3. PERSONAL ALLOWANCES .....................................................................      41
   5.4. RATES ......................................................................................   41
   5.5. DOUBLE TAXATION RELIEF ...................................................................     41
6. INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS .....................................................................         41
   6.1. RESIDENT INDIVIDUALS ......................................................................    41
        6.1.1. Foreign income and capital gains ..............................................         41
        6.1.2. Foreign capital ....................................................................    42
        6.1.3. Double taxation relief ...........................................................      42
   6.2. EXPATRIATE INDIVIDUALS ....................................................................    42
        6.2.1. Inward expatriates ...............................................................      42
        6.2.2. Outward expatriates .............................................................       43
   6.3. NON-RESIDENT INDIVIDUALS .................................................................     43
        6.3.1. Taxes on income and capital gains ............................................          44
                6.3.1.1. Employment income ................................................            44
                6.3.1.2. Business and professional income ................................             44
                6.3.1.3. Investment income ..................................................          44
                6.3.1.4. Capital gains .........................................................       45
                6.3.1.5. Other ..................................................................      45
        6.3.2. Taxes on capital ..................................................................     45
        6.3.3. Inheritance and gift taxes ......................................................       45
        6.3.4. Administration ....................................................................     45
KEY FEATURES .....................................................................................     47




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CORPORATE TAXATION                                    DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


SINGAPORE
This chapter is based on information available up to 1 January 2018.
Introduction
Singapore is a republic that consists of the main island of Singapore and some 57
islands, of which 20 are inhabited.
Companies are subject to income tax on corporate profits. There is no tax on capital
gains. A goods and services tax (GST) is imposed.
The law governing the imposition of income tax is the Income Tax Act (ITA). The tax
administration agency is the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Social security contributions are made to the Central Provident Fund (CPF).
The currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD).
1. Corporate Income Tax
1.1. Type of tax system
Singapore operated an imputation system until 31 December 2002. From 1 January
2003, the imputation system was replaced by a one-tier corporate tax system, under
which all dividends paid by resident companies are exempt in the hands of sharehold-
ers at all levels. However, during a 5-year transitional period (1 January 2003 to 31
December 2007), the old imputation system continued to apply to companies that
opted to remain on the imputation system.
The one-tier corporate system applies with no exception from 1 January 2008.
1.2. Taxable persons
Corporate income tax is levied on companies and trusts. Government agencies,
friendly and cooperative societies, charities and trade unions are generally exempt
from tax.
A company, as defined in the ITA, includes any company incorporated or registered
under any law in Singapore or elsewhere. This definition is very broad and includes all
companies whether local or foreign which carry on operations in Singapore. This
chapter is restricted to Singapore-incorporated public companies (generally, listed
companies) and private limited companies (Pte. Ltd.) as well as foreign-incorporated
entities of a similar description, whether resident or non-resident. These entities will
be referred to as companies.
Partnerships, including limited liability partnerships, are not separate taxable per-
sons, and each partner is liable to tax on his share of income from the partnership.
1.2.1. Residence
A company is resident in Singapore if the management and control of its business is
exercised in Singapore. In practice, the place of residence is deemed to be the place
where the directors of a company meet and exercise de facto control (not necessarily
the place of incorporation).




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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                    CORPORATE TAXATION


1.3. Taxable income
1.3.1. General
Resident companies are subject to tax on any income accruing in or derived from Sin-
gapore, or received in Singapore from outside Singapore. However, certain foreign
income may be exempt (see section 6.1.1.).
The taxable income for a year of assessment is determined by subtracting allowable
deductions from assessable income. Assessable income includes gains or profits from
any trade or business, income from investment such as dividends, interest and rental,
royalties, premiums and any other profits from property and other gains of an income
nature.
Trade income is taxed on an accrual basis.
Companies that choose to accept virtual currencies (e.g. bitcoins) as payment for
goods or services, or pay for goods and services using virtual currencies, are subject to
normal income tax rules. The transaction value is based on the open market value of
the goods or services in Singapore dollars. Companies that buy and sell virtual curren-
cies in the ordinary course of their business will be taxed on the profit derived from
trading in the virtual currency. Profits derived by businesses that mine and trade
virtual currencies in exchange for money are also subject to tax.
There is generally no tax on capital gains.
1.3.2. Exempt income
Income is exempt if it is:
–    derived by an exempt taxpayer (see section 1.2.); or
–    exempt income, e.g. specified foreign income (see section 6.1.1.).
In addition, there are numerous incentives for particular types of businesses which
result in either full or partial exemption, or reduced tax rates (see section 1.7.).
Under the one-tier corporate tax system, all dividends received from resident compa-
nies are exempt (see further section 1.1.).
1.3.3. Deductions
In general, deductions are allowed for outgoings and expenses incurred wholly and
exclusively in the production of income. Expenses of a capital, private or domestic
nature and expenses incurred prior to the commencement or after the cessation of a
business are not deductible. In addition, deductions are not allowed for expenses
where specifically prohibited by the ITA.
Deductible items include business expenditure, interest payments, rents, repairs and
renewals, contributions to an approved pension fund and research and development
expenditure. The deductibility of the following expenses is subject to limitations: bad
and doubtful debts, motor vehicle expenses, entertainment, legal and professional
fees, and gifts. Taxes paid, fines and penalties, and club entrance fees are not deduct-
ible.
Generally, dividends are not deductible, whereas interest is. Royalties incurred in
earning assessable income are deductible.




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CORPORATE TAXATION                                    DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


1.3.4. Depreciation and amortization
Plant and machinery are granted an initial allowance of 20% of the capital expenditure
and annual allowances over the useful life, which ranges from 5 to 16 years. Alterna-
tively, expenditure incurred on plant and machinery for the purposes of a trade, busi-
ness or profession (including motor cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles from the
year of assessment 2009) may be depreciated over 3 years at 33 1/3% per year, but no
initial allowance is granted.
Plant and machinery acquired for business purposes in the years of assessment 2010
and 2011 are eligible for accelerated capital allowances at the rate of 75% in the first
year of claim and 25% in the second year of claim.
A 100% depreciation allowance is available on capital expenditure incurred on com-
puter equipment, prescribed automation equipment, robots, generators, pollution
control and energy efficient equipment, noise reduction and chemical hazard control
equipment, and the replacement of certain diesel-driven vehicles and buses.
A 100% depreciation allowance is also available on capital expenditure incurred on
low-value assets (costing up to SGD 5,000 per asset), up to a maximum of SGD 30,000.
Capital expenditure incurred in acquiring approved intellectual property rights (IPRs)
up to the year of assessment 2020 may be written down over 5 years on a straight-line
basis, i.e. at an annual rate of 20%. However, companies are allowed to elect for longer
writing-down periods of 10 or 15 years for IPRs acquired from the year of assessment
2017. Media and digital entertainment companies are eligible for an accelerated
writing-down allowance of 50% for IPRs acquired up to the year of assessment 2018.
Thereafter, these companies may elect to claim the writing-down allowance over a
period of 5, 10 or 15 years on such capital expenditure.
A 100% depreciation allowance is granted on approved research and development cost-
sharing agreements entered into on or after 17 February 2006.
From 23 February 2010, industrial building allowance is no longer allowed on capital
expenditure incurred on the construction or purchase of industrial buildings or struc-
tures (previously, initial allowance of 25% and annual allowances of 3% were granted).
Examples of assets that are not depreciable include general lighting, doors, windows,
fixed partitions, false ceilings and S-registered cars.
Unabsorbed capital allowances can be carried forward to be set off against income of
subsequent years of assessment from the same trade, business or profession in respect
of which the capital allowances were granted. The carry-forward is also subject to a
shareholding test (see section 1.5.1.).
When an asset is sold or written off, a comparison must be made between the tax
written down value against the disposal proceeds. The difference resulting in a bal-
ancing allowance is tax deductible whereas a difference resulting in a balancing
charge is taxable.
1.3.5. Reserves and provisions
Deductions are allowed when an actual liability arises. As such, reserves and provisions
are generally not deductible.
A general provision for bad and doubtful debts is not deductible, but a provision made
for a specific debt may be allowed.



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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                    CORPORATE TAXATION


1.4. Capital gains
Capital gains are generally not taxable, including capital gains from the disposal of
virtual currencies.
However, in certain cases where there is a series of transactions or where the holding
period of the asset is short, capital transactions may be deemed to constitute a trade
that generates income. The taxpayer’s intention upon entering the transaction may
determine whether it will produce taxable income which is consequently taxable as
business income.
Gains derived by a divesting company from a disposal of ordinary shares in an investee
company during the period 1 June 2012 to 31 May 2022 (both dates inclusive) are not
taxable if, immediately prior to the date of share disposal, the divesting company had
held at least 20% of the ordinary shares in the investee company for a continuous
period of at least 24 months.
1.5. Losses
1.5.1. Ordinary losses
A loss arising from the carrying on of a trade is deductible against all other sources of
income if it would have been assessable had it been a profit.
Only losses from a trade, business, profession or vocation can be carried forward.
Losses can be carried forward indefinitely, provided a shareholding test is met, i.e. the
company’s shareholding has not changed beyond 50% between the year the loss was
incurred and the year the loss is to be set off.
The carry-forward of unutilized capital allowances is also subject to the shareholding
test, in addition to the same business test (see section 1.3.4.).
Unutilized donations can be carried forward for up to 5 years of assessment, and is
also subject to the shareholding test.
Losses of up to SGD 100,000 may be carried back for one year of assessment preceding
the year the capital allowances were granted or the trade losses were incurred. Any
unutilized amounts exceeding SGD 100,000 can be carried forward for set-off against
the income of subsequent years of assessment.
1.5.2. Capital losses
Capital losses are not deductible.
1.6. Rates
1.6.1. Income and capital gains
The rate of corporate income tax is 17% from the year of assessment 2010 onwards
(previously, 18%). There is a partial exemption of 75% on the first SGD 10,000 and 50%
on the next SGD 290,000 of the company’s chargeable income.
For the year of assessment 2018, all companies will receive a corporate income tax
rebate of 20%, subject to a cap of SGD 10,000.
For the year of assessment 2017, all companies receive a corporate income tax rebate
of 50%, subject to a cap of SGD 25,000.




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CORPORATE TAXATION                                     DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


Full tax exemption can be granted to a qualifying newly incorporated company on up
to SGD 100,000 of normal chargeable income (excluding Singapore franked dividends),
for each of its first 3 consecutive years of assessment. A 50% exemption applies to the
next SGD 200,000 of chargeable income.
There is no tax on capital gains.
1.6.2. Withholding taxes on domestic payments
Generally, payments to other resident companies do not attract withholding tax.
See section 6.3. for withholding rates on payments to non-residents.
1.7. Incentives
Various tax incentives are available in Singapore which may grant full or partial tax
exemption, reduced tax rates, investment allowances or special deductions. The tax
incentives apply to a range of industries, especially the financial services sector.
The incentives available for the financial services sector include incentives for finance
and treasury centres, debt securities, offshore insurance, Islamic financing arrange-
ments and maritime finance. Many of these incentives grant tax exemptions and/or
reduced tax rates.
Concessionary tax rates of 5% or 10% are granted on qualifying income earned under
the enhanced headquarters incentive package which includes incentives for global
headquarters, business headquarters and manufacturing headquarters.
The main incentives to encourage inward direct investments are the pioneer status
which grants tax exemption for 5 to 15 years, and the development and expansion
incentive for post-pioneer companies whereby profits are taxed from 5% for up to 20
years. Companies engaged in the provision of qualifying services to non-residents may
be eligible for the export of services incentive which grants tax exemption on 90% of
qualifying income.
Special tax deductions are also available for research and development expenses,
intellectual property expenses, expenses incurred for the promotion of export and
market development, overseas investment development, financial research and
development expenses and donations to approved charities and public institutions.
Investment incentives in the form of funding assistance and grants are also available.
1.8. Administration
1.8.1. Taxable period
The year of assessment is normally the calendar year, but a company’s income may be
assessed based on its financial year.
Tax is computed on a preceding year basis, i.e. the tax liability for a year of assessment
is calculated on income accrued, derived or received in Singapore in the preceding cal-
endar or financial year (the basis period).
1.8.2. Tax returns and assessment
Paper filing of tax returns must be done by 30 November of each year.




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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                   CORPORATE TAXATION


E-filing has been available to all companies from the year of assessment 2015, and the
annual deadline for e-filing is 15 December. E-filing of corporate tax returns and esti-
mated chargeable income (see section 1.8.3.) will be made mandatory in stages start-
ing from the year of assessment 2018 to the year of assessment 2020 as follows:

Category                                      Mandatory e-filing for year of assessment
Companies with turnover over SGD 10 million
in the year of assessment 2017                                                     2018
Companies with turnover of more than SGD 1
million in the year of assessment 2018                                             2019
All other companies                                                                2020

Upon submission of the tax return, IRAS will proceed to assess the taxpayer to tax.
Dormant companies can apply online for a waiver of income tax return submission via
the myTax Portal.
1.8.3. Payment of tax
Tax must be paid within 1 month from the date of the notice of assessment, even if an
objection to the assessment is made. Excess tax payments are refunded.
All companies including new companies are required to file its estimated chargeable
income (ECI) in the ECI Form within 3 months from the end of their financial year,
except for companies that qualify for the administrative concession and those that are
specifically not required to file. Companies must also declare their revenue in the ECI
Form. Companies that submit their ECI within the qualifying period may opt to pay tax
by instalments, and e-filers will be allowed a greater number of instalments.
1.8.4. Rulings
Taxpayers can request for advance rulings from IRAS. Broadly, an advance ruling is a
written interpretation of how a provision of the ITA applies to a specific taxpayer and
a proposed arrangement.
Rulings are final, and are private and confidential.
Effective from 1 July 2007, Singapore introduced an advance ruling system for its
goods and services tax (GST) regime. Customs rulings on the classification, country of
origin or how goods are to be treated for the purposes of determining customs duty,
excise duty, or both, payable on the goods are also available.
2. Transactions between Resident Companies
2.1. Group treatment
A company is allowed to transfer its unabsorbed capital allowances, unabsorbed trade
losses and unabsorbed donations to another company in the same group, to be
deducted against the assessable income of the other company.
In order to qualify for group relief, the companies must be incorporated in Singapore,
belong to the same group with a 75% shareholding threshold and have the same
accounting year-end.
2.2. Intercompany dividends
There are no provisions for intercompany dividends, but dividends received from res-
ident companies are exempt under the one-tier corporate tax system.



14
CORPORATE TAXATION                                         DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


See section 6.1.1. for foreign-sourced dividends, and section 6.3.1. for dividends paid
to non-residents.
3. Other Taxes on Income
3.1. Branch profits tax
Branch profits are subject to tax as if the branch were a resident company. However,
profits remitted to its foreign head office are not taxable.
3.2. Casino tax
With effect from 5 February 2010, the business activities of casinos are subject to a
casino tax, which is imposed pursuant to the Casino Control (Casino Tax) Regulations
2010.
The casino tax is levied on the gross gaming revenues (GGR) of casinos operated in Sin-
gapore, which is computed in accordance with the following formula:
GGR = A – B
where:
A = the aggregate of the amount of net wins received on all games conducted within the casino
    premises; and
B = GST chargeable by the casino operator in respect of all betting and gaming services offered
    or conducted by the casino operator.
“Net wins” as referred to above is the amount of bets received by the casino operator
on a game less the amount paid out as winnings on that game. In addition, any bets
received using counterfeit money or chips and money stolen from the casino operator
may be deductible against the net wins. Any reimbursements of such amounts would
be subsequently taxable.
GGR from premium players will be taxed at 5%, while GGR from all other players is
taxable at 15%. A “premium player” is one who maintains a deposit account with a
minimum of SGD 100,000 before he starts playing any game in the casino.
4. Taxes on Payroll
4.1. Payroll tax
There is no payroll tax.
However, a skills development levy is payable by employers, both domestic and for-
eign, in respect of their employees (including full-time, part-time, casual and tempo-
rary local and foreign workers rendering services wholly or partly in Singapore). The
levy rate per employee is 0.25% on the first SGD 4,500 of monthly remuneration or a
minimum of SGD 2 (for total wages of SGD 800 or less), whichever is higher. Hence, the
maximum levy payable is SGD 11.25 per employee.
A foreign worker levy is also payable in respect of construction workers, factory work-
ers, shipbuilding and repairing workers, domestic servants, etc. An employer who pays
this levy is exempt from CPF contributions.
4.2. Social security contributions
Employers are required to contribute to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) in respect of
their employees. The amount of CPF contributions payable by an employer is depen-
dent on the age of the employee, and is calculated on the total wages of an employee
in a calendar month. Total wages for any calendar month is the sum of the employee’s


                                                                                             15
DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                  CORPORATE TAXATION


ordinary wages (OW) for the month and the additional wages paid to the employee in
that month. From 1 January 2016, CPF contributions on OW are subject to a ceiling of
SGD 6,000 per month. Prior to 1 January 2016, the ceiling was SGD 5,000 per month.
From 1 January 2016, CPF contributions on additional wages ( bonus, incentive pay-
ments, etc.) are capped at the annual ceiling of SGD 30,000, i.e. SGD 102,000 (equiv-
alent to 17 monthly wages × SGD 6,000) less the total of OW subject to CPF for the
year. Prior to 1 January 2016, CPF contributions on additional wages were capped at
SGD 25,000, i.e. SGD 85,000 (17 monthly wages × SGD 5,000) less the total of OW
subject to CPF for the year.
Wages refer to all monies due to an employee including overtime pay, allowances, cash
awards, commissions and bonuses.
From 1 January 2016, the contribution rates are as follows:

Employee age (years)                               Employer’s contribution (% of wage)
Up to            50                                                               17
51       –       55                                                               17
56       –       60                                                               13
61       –       65                                                                9
Over             65                                                                7.5

The employers’ contribution rates in 2015 are as follows:

Employee age (years)                               Employer’s contribution (% of wage)
Up to            50                                                               17
51       –       55                                                               16
56       –       60                                                               12
61       –       65                                                                8.5
Over             65                                                                7.5

The rates apply to employees earning total wages of SGD 750 or more per month. For
employees earning less, the employer contributions generally start from the wage of
more than SGD 50, and the rates follow the existing full employer CPF contribution
rates for the respective age groups.
In addition, a Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) exists for savings in addition to
CPF contributions. The maximum amount that can be contributed to the SRS account is
15% of annual income for Singaporeans and SPRs, and 35% for expatriates, subject
further to the prevailing CPF income ceiling. Thus, from 1 January 2016, the cap is SGD
15,300 per year for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and SGD 35,700 for
foreigners. Employers may claim a full tax deduction for the contributions to their
employees’ SRS accounts.
From the year of assessment 2012, eligible companies that make voluntary contribu-
tions to the Self-employed Persons’ (SEP) CPF Medisave Accounts from 1 January 2011
will be given a tax deduction of up to SGD 1,500 per SEP per calendar year, subject to
conditions. With effect from 1 January 2018, the tax deduction is increased to SGD
2,730 per SEP per calendar year.




16
CORPORATE TAXATION                                       DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


5. Taxes on Capital
5.1. Net worth tax
There is no net worth tax.
5.2. Real estate tax
Property tax is levied at 10% on the annual value of all immovable property in Singa-
pore, including houses, buildings, hotels, land and tenements.
A progressive property tax regime (PPTR) for owner-occupied residential property was
introduced with effect from 1 January 2011, as follows:

                                Owner-occupier tax rates (%)
Annual value (SGD)                        From 1 Jan. 2014              From 1 Jan. 2015
First 8,000                                                0                           0
Next 47,000                                                4                           4
Next 5,000                                                 5                           6
Next 10,000                                                6                           6
Next 15,000                                                7                           8
Next 15,000                                                9                          10
Next 15,000                                               11                          12
Next 15,000                                               13                          14
Amount in excess of 130,000                               15                          16

With effect from 1 January 2014, the PPTR also applies to non-owner occupied resi-
dential properties. Such residential properties were previously subject to property tax
at 10%. The new rates are as follows:

                                  Residential tax rates (%)
Annual value (SGD)                         From 1 Jan. 2014             From 1 Jan. 2015
First 30,000                                               10                         10
Next 15,000                                                11                         12
Next 15,000                                                13                         14
Next 15,000                                                15                         16
Next 15,000                                                17                         18
Amount in excess of 90,000                                 19                         20

The annual value is the estimated annual rent of the property if it is let out, excluding
the rent for furniture, furnishings and maintenance fees. The annual value of the prop-
erty is determined based on estimated market rentals of similar or comparable prop-
erties and not on the actual rental income received, and is determined in the same
manner regardless of whether the property is let, owner-occupied or vacant.
Annual property tax bills are sent to property owners in November or December each
year for the payment of the following year’s property tax. The due date of payment is
31 January of each year. For ad hoc property tax notices issued by IRAS, payment is due
within a month from the date of the notice.
Buildings that are used exclusively for the following purposes are exempt:
–   public religious worship;
–   public schools that are in receipt of grant-in-aid from the government;


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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                      CORPORATE TAXATION


–    charitable purposes; and
–    purposes conducive to social development in Singapore.
Partial exemption may be granted if only parts of the building qualify for exemption.
6. International Aspects
6.1. Resident companies
A company is resident in Singapore if the management and control of its business is
exercised in Singapore. In practice, the place of residence is deemed to be the place
where the directors of a company meet and exercise de facto control (not necessarily
the place of incorporation).
6.1.1. Foreign income and capital gains
Resident companies are subject to tax on any income accruing in or derived from Sin-
gapore, or received in Singapore from outside Singapore. As such, foreign income is
taxed only when it is received in Singapore. The tax treatment for foreign income is
generally the same as for Singapore-sourced income (see sections 1.3. to 1.8.).
Resident companies are exempted from tax on the following specified income received
from outside Singapore, provided they meet the three qualifying conditions:
–    foreign-sourced dividends;
–    foreign branch profits arising from trade or business; and
–    foreign-sourced income from professional, technical, consultancy or other services
     provided in the course of a trade, profession or business, through a fixed place of
     operation outside Singapore.
The three conditions are as follows:
–    the headline tax rate (the highest corporate tax rate or highest stipulated conces-
     sionary tax rate) of the foreign jurisdiction from which the income is received, is at
     least 15% at the time the foreign income is received in Singapore;
–    the foreign income was subjected to tax in the foreign jurisdiction from which it
     was received. The rate at which the foreign income was taxed can be different
     from the headline tax rate; and
–    IRAS is satisfied that the exemption would be beneficial to the Singapore resident.
Companies engaged in substantial business activities overseas which are unable to
qualify for tax exemption for specified foreign income may also be granted exemption
if they remit the foreign income under specific scenarios as set out by IRAS and satisfy
the qualifying conditions. The tax exemption is granted if the tax authority is further
satisfied that the taxpayer is able to track the source of the foreign income, there is no
round tripping of Singapore-sourced income via the overseas investment, and the Sin-
gaporean recipient is not a shell company.
An exemption is available on foreign dividends, foreign interest, distributions from a
non-resident trustee of a trust that holds foreign properties and foreign branch profits
received in Singapore, by the trustees of real estate investment trusts listed on the
Singapore Exchange (S-REIT) or their wholly owned Singapore resident subsidiary com-
panies, provided that they satisfy the qualifying conditions.




18
CORPORATE TAXATION                                     DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


An exemption is also available for foreign interest and dividend income from an off-
shore qualifying infrastructure project/asset, provided various conditions are satis-
fied, including the following:
–   tax has been paid in the foreign jurisdiction where the headline tax rate is at least
    15%, unless tax holidays apply in the jurisdiction;
–   there is no round-tripping of Singapore-source income and no artificial structures
    (e.g. a shell company in Singapore) have been set up to avoid Singapore tax;
–   where exemption is to be granted to a wholly owned Singapore resident subsidiary
    company of a Singapore listed entity, the full amount of the remitted income less
    incidental expenses associated with the remittance, statutory expenses and
    administrative expenses incurred by the subsidiary company must be passed
    through to the Singapore listed entity;
–   the ownership of or investment in the offshore qualifying infrastructure proj-
    ect/asset is substantially advised in Singapore; and
–   IRAS is satisfied that the above conditions are met.
A qualifying infrastructure project/asset is a new investment made in specified areas,
including electricity generation, waste management, infrastructure, ports, telecom-
munications, water treatment, hospitals and/or clinics and schools.
Taxpayers who receive specified foreign income that is not covered under any of the
scenarios may still apply for tax exemption, stating why they should merit consider-
ation. Tax exemption may be granted if it is determined that the repatriation of the
foreign income would generate economic benefits for Singapore.
Foreign capital gains are not subject to tax.
6.1.2. Foreign losses
Expenses incurred in respect of foreign-sourced income received in Singapore that
qualifies for tax exemption is deductible against such foreign-sourced income, and will
not be available for deduction against any other taxable income. Otherwise, see
section 1.5. for general rules.
6.1.3. Foreign capital
There is no net worth tax. Property located abroad is not subject to property tax in Sin-
gapore.
6.1.4. Double taxation relief
An ordinary tax credit is granted unilaterally in respect of foreign tax paid on income
derived from foreign countries with which Singapore has no tax treaty. The credits
available are:
–   Commonwealth relief for tax paid in Commonwealth countries which grant recip-
    rocal relief, which was repealed from the year of assessment 2010. The credit was
    computed as 100% of the Commonwealth tax where the Commonwealth tax rate did
    not exceed 50% of the Singapore tax rate, and 50% of the Singapore rate otherwise;
–   credit for tax paid on income from specified services rendered in specified foreign
    countries;
–   credit for tax paid on dividend income from foreign investments, including under-
    lying tax; and
–   credit for tax paid on profits derived by a branch in a foreign country.



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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                    CORPORATE TAXATION


An ordinary tax credit is also granted under Singapore’s tax treaties. The credit is the
lower of the actual amount of foreign tax paid or the amount of Singapore tax attrib-
utable to the foreign income (net of expenses). Tax treaty provisions take precedence
over domestic law, except when a domestic tax law is enacted specifically with the
intent and purpose of overriding the provisions of the tax treaty.
Excess foreign tax credits that cannot be offset against Singapore income tax in the
same year of assessment, cannot be carried forward or back to other years.
Foreign tax credit is normally computed on a “source-by-source and country-by-coun-
try” basis. Beginning from the year of assessment 2012, taxpayers may elect to pool
the foreign taxes paid on any item of foreign income if all the following conditions are
met:
–    income tax was paid in the foreign jurisdiction from which the foreign income is
     derived;
–    the headline tax rate of the foreign jurisdiction is at least 15% at the time the
     foreign income was received in Singapore;
–    Singapore tax is payable on the foreign income; and
–    the taxpayer is entitled to claim the foreign tax credit under the tax law.
The credit granted under the foreign tax credit pooling system is the lower of:
–    the amount of Singapore tax attributable to the foreign income under pooling (net
     of expenses); or
–    the actual amount of pooled foreign tax paid on the same pool of foreign income.
See section 6.3.5. for a list of tax treaties in force.
6.2. Non-resident companies
A non-resident company is a company that is not a resident of Singapore (see section
6.1.).
6.2.1. Taxes on income and capital gains
Generally, non-resident companies are subject to tax on any income accruing in or
derived from Singapore, or received in Singapore from outside Singapore.
Business income of non-residents is subject to tax if derived through a permanent
establishment in Singapore, and is generally subject to tax under the normal rules for
residents, including the tax rate (see sections 1.3. to 1.7.). The domestic definition of
a permanent establishment closely follows that in the OECD Model Convention.
Non-resident companies without a permanent establishment in Singapore are taxed
only on income sourced in Singapore. No tax is imposed on foreign-source business
income whether or not received in Singapore.
Capital gains are not subject to tax.
See section 6.3. for withholding taxes.
6.2.2. Taxes on capital
There is no net worth tax. Non-resident companies are subject to property tax (see
section 5.2.) on their property located in Singapore.




20
CORPORATE TAXATION                                     DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


6.2.3. Administration
If income received is subject to final withholding tax and the tax is properly withheld,
there should be no filing requirements (see section 6.3.). Otherwise, the requirements
for non-residents to file tax returns are the same as for residents. See section 1.8. for
tax compliance and administration.
6.3. Withholding taxes on payments to non-resident companies
6.3.1. Dividends
There is no withholding tax on dividends.
6.3.2. Interest
Interest, commissions, fees or other payments in connection with any loan or indebt-
edness are subject to a final withholding tax of 15% on the gross amount where the
income is derived by the non-resident person through operations carried on outside
Singapore. Where operations are carried out in Singapore, the prevailing corporate tax
rate applies.
6.3.3. Royalties
Royalties paid to non-residents are subject to a final withholding tax of 10% on the
gross amount where the income is derived by the non-resident person through opera-
tions carried on outside Singapore. Where operations are carried out in Singapore, the
prevailing corporate tax rate applies.
6.3.4. Other
Payments of technical assistance and service fees, and management fees, to non-res-
idents are subject to a non-final withholding tax at the prevailing corporate tax rate.
Withholding tax is not imposed where the service is provided wholly outside Singapore
(on or after 29 December 2009).
Payments for the use of or the right to use scientific, technical, industrial or commer-
cial knowledge or information, to non-residents are subject to a final withholding tax
of 10% on the gross amount where the income is derived by the non-resident person
through operations carried on outside Singapore. Where operations are carried out in
Singapore, the prevailing corporate tax rate applies.
Rent or other payments for the use of moveable properties are subject to a final with-
holding tax of 15% where the income is derived by the non-resident person through
operations carried on outside Singapore. Where operations are carried out in Singa-
pore, the prevailing corporate tax rate applies.
REIT distributions to unitholders who are non-residents (other than individuals) are
subject to withholding tax of 10% or the prevailing corporate tax rate. The reduced
withholding tax rate of 10% applies to distributions made during the period from 18
February 2005 to 31 March 2020.
Proceeds from the sale of any real property by a non-resident property trader are
subject to a non-final withholding tax of 15%.
There is no branch profits or remittance tax (however, see section 3.1.).




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DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                      CORPORATE TAXATION


6.3.5. Withholding tax rates chart
The following chart contains the withholding tax rates that are applicable to dividend,
interest and royalty payments from Singapore to non-residents under the tax treaties
in force as at the date of review. However, Singapore does not impose any withholding
tax on dividends under domestic law. The rates provided below are the maximum with-
holding rates should Singapore impose a withholding tax on dividends in the future.
Where, in a particular case, a treaty rate is higher than the domestic rate, the latter
is applicable. If the treaty provides for a rate lower than the domestic rate, the
reduced treaty rate may be applied at source.

                                   Dividends1              Interest1         Royalties
                         Individuals,      Qualifying
                          companies        companies
                             (%)              (%)               (%)               (%)
Domestic Rates
Companies:               0               0                 15                10
Individuals:             0               n/a               15                10
Treaty Rates
Treaty With:
Albania                  5               5                  5                 5
Australia               15              15                 10                102
Austria                  0               0                  5                 5
Bahrain                  0               0                  5                 5
Bangladesh              15              15                 10                103
Barbados                 0               0                 12                 8
Belarus                  5               5                  0/54              5
Belgium                 15               0/55               0/54              56
Brunei                  10              10                  5/104            10
Bulgaria                 5               5                  5                 5
Cambodia                10              10                 10                10
Canada                  15              15                 15                15
China (People’s Rep.)   10               57                 7/104            108
Cyprus                   0               0                  7/104            10
Czech Republic           5               5                  0                 0/5/109
Denmark                  5/1010          011               10                10
Ecuador                  5               5                  0/104            10
Egypt                   15              15                 15                15
Estonia                 10               57                10                 7.5
Ethiopia                 5               5                  5                 512
Fiji                    15               513               10                10
Finland                 10               513                5                 5
France                  15               –/514             10                 –/015
Georgia                  0               0                  0                 0
Germany                 15               513                8                 8
Guernsey                 0               0                 12                 8
Hungary                 10               57                 5                 5


22
CORPORATE TAXATION                                  DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018


                                Dividends1               Interest1      Royalties
                      Individuals,        Qualifying
                       companies          companies
                            (%)               (%)           (%)            (%)
                                         7
India                15               10                 10/154         10
Indonesia            15               107                10             15
Ireland               0                 0                 5              5
Isle of Man           0                 0                12              8
Israel               10                 513               7              5
Italy                10                10                12.5           15/2016
Japan                15                 517              10             10
Jersey                0                 0                12              8
Kazakhstan           10                 57               1018           1018
Korea (Rep.)         15                107               10             15
Kuwait                0                 0                 7             10
Laos                  8                 513               5              5
Latvia               10                 57               10              7.5
Libya                10                 0/513             5              5
Liechtenstein         0                 0                12              8
Lithuania            10                 57               10              7.5
Luxembourg            0                 0                 0              7
Malaysia             10                 57               10              8
Malta                 0                 0                 7/104         10
Mauritius             0                 0                 0              0
Mexico                0                 0                 5/154         10
Mongolia             10                 57                5/104          5
Morocco               0                 0                10             10
Myanmar              10                 57                8/104         10/1519
Netherlands           0                 0                10              020
New Zealand          1521               513,21           1021            521
Norway               15                 57                7              7
Oman                  5                 5                 7              8
                                   22
Pakistan              0/10/12.5/15      0/10/12.5/1522   12.5           10
Panama                5                 413               0/523          5
Papua New Guinea     15                15                10             10
Philippines          25                1524              15              0/2525
Poland                0                 0                 5              2/519
Portugal             10                10                10             10
Qatar                 0                 0                 5             10
Romania               5                 5                 5              5
Russia               10                 526               0              5
Rwanda                7.527             7.527            10             10
San Marino            0                 0                12              8
Saudi Arabia          5                 5                 5              8
Seychelles            0                 0                12              8



                                                                                    23
DOING BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE 2018                                                      CORPORATE TAXATION


                                       Dividends1                           Interest1           Royalties
                             Individuals,       Qualifying
                              companies         companies
                                  (%)                (%)                        (%)                 (%)
                                                 13
Slovak Republic             10                 5                              0                  10
Slovenia                     5                 5                              5                   5
                               28
South Africa                10                 513,28                         0/7.529             5
Spain                        5                 0/530                          0/531               5
Sri Lanka                   10                 7.57                          10                  10
Sweden                      15                107                            10/15 4              0
Switzerland                 15                 513                            523                 5
Taiwan                       032               032                            –33                15
Thailand                    10                10                             10/154,34            5/8/1035
Turkey                      15                107                             7.5/104            10
Ukraine                     15                 536                           10                   7.5
United Arab Emirates         0                 0                              0                   5
                                  37
United Kingdom               0/15              0/1537                         0/54                8
Uruguay                     1038               513,38                        1039                 5/1040
Uzbekistan                   5                 5                              5                   8
Vietnam                      0                 0                             1041                 5/1019
1.  Many of the treaties provide for an exemption for dividends paid to the government, public bodies and
    institutions, etc., and for certain types of interest, e.g. interest paid to public bodies and institutions,
    banks or financial institutions, or in relation to sales on credit, approved industrial undertakings or
    approved loans. Such exemptions are not considered in this column.
2. The rate does not apply to payments in respect of the operations of mines, quarries, exploitation of
    natural resources, or payments for the use of, or the right to use, motion picture films, tapes for use
    in connection with radio broadcasting or films or video tapes for use in connection with television.
3. The rate does not apply to royalty payments in respect of literary, artistic or scientific works copy-
    rights (including film royalties).
4. The lower rate applies to interest received by a bank or financial institution or insurance company, as
    the case may be. In the treaty with Sweden, the lower rate applies to interest paid to a financial insti-
    tution in respect of an industrial undertaking. In the treaty with the United Kingdom, the lower rate
    also applies to interest paid by a bank or similar financial institution.
5. 0% applies to dividends paid to a company that at the time of payment holds directly, for an uninter-
    rupted period of at least 12 months, at least 25% of the capital of the dividend-paying company; 5%
    applies to dividends paid to a company that holds directly at least 10% of the capital of the dividend-
    paying company.
6. The 5% rate applies to (i) 60% of the gross amount of royalties received as a consideration for the use
    of, or the right to use, any industrial, commercial or scientific equipment, or (ii) 100% of the gross
    amount of all other royalties included in the definition.
7. The rate generally applies to participations of at least 25% of capital or voting shares, as the case may
    be.
8. In the case of royalties paid for the use of or the right to use any industrial, commercial or scientific
    equipment, withholding tax is levied on 60% of gross payments.
9. The rate of 5% applies to payments for the use of, or the right to use, any industrial, commercial or sci-
    entific equipment; 10% applies to any patent, trade mark, design or model, plan, secret formula or
    process and computer software, or for information concerning industrial, commercial or scientific
    experience. There is no withholding tax on copyrights of literary, artistic or scientific work except of
    computer software and including cinematograph films, and films or tapes for television or radio broad-
    casting.
10. The lower rate applies to dividends received by pension funds or similar institutions providing pension
    schemes.



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