Singapore’s strong infocommunications infrastructure, stable political climate, pool of skilled professionals, strategic location and business-friendly tax policies have resulted in over 7000 multinational companies (MNCs) establishing their operations in Asia Pacific via Singapore.
Out of these 7000 Singapore registered companies, many of them have set up their headquarters here. Over the last month alone, Kulicke & Soffa Industries has set up its global headquarters in Singapore. Other industry giants like Lanxess, Tata Communications, Procter & Gamble have set up their headquarters in Singapore over the past few years.
Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin recognizes the following as salient reasons to set up headquarters in Singapore.
To encourage multinational companies to relocate their headquarters to Singapore, the Economic Development Board offers regional headquarters (RHQ) and international headquarters (IHQ) incentives. Companies which are conferred the RHQ status enjoy a concessionary Singapore tax rate of 15% for up to 5 years for qualifying income arising from headquarters activities and operations carried out from Singapore.
Those awarded IHQ status enjoy even further attractive tax rates of between 0% and 10%. Regional headquarters which use Singapore as an international intellectual property (IP) holding location may claim writing-down allowance (WDA) for the cost of acquisition of the IP.
The Republic has adopted a territorial basis of taxation, which means that Singapore-based holding companies or headquarters can repatriate dividends from their directly held foreign subsidiaries to Singapore free of Singapore tax. Those whose foreign subsidiaries are engaged in substantive economic activities but are unable to meet the qualifying conditions for this tax exemption may apply for a specific exemption.
ATTRACTIVE TAX SYSTEM
On top of that, Singapore has a progressive tax system that is designed to spur entrepreneurship and business activity. The corporate and personal tax rates start at 0% and do not exceed 20%. There is no capital gains tax. In addition, the government offers every business that opts for Singapore company formation an automatic 400% tax deduction or option for a 60% cash payout each year for investments made via the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme.
“More importantly, under the PIC scheme, the government motivates entrepreneurs to acquire and register Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). This is bolstered by the Republic’s strong focus on intellectual property protection, which is crucial in today’s competitive global business environment,” said Mr. Satish Bakhda, Head of Operations at Rikvin.
NETWORK OF TRADE AGREEMENTS
Singapore also offers an extensive network of free trade agreements (20 FTAs with 27 economies) and avoidance of double taxation agreements (69 DTAs). “These agreements not only facilitate cross-border trade, but also safeguard the interests of Singapore’s investors and ensure that those who invest in Singapore will be able to reap maximum returns,” affirmed Mr. Bakhda.
Finally, for making relocation to Singapore attractive for top professionals, there is a Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) scheme. Individuals normally residing in Singapore, but with regional duties requiring them to spend at least 90 days a year outside the country, may apply for this scheme. Under this, their Singapore employment income is taxed on a time-apportionment basis for up to five years of assessment.
“In view of the array of incentives to firms and its employees, headquarters in Singapore may be one of the best business decisions ever made by the multinationals. Rikvin is committed to helping companies achieve that status,” affirmed Mr. Bakhda.