1. Home
  2. Singapore

Singapore / Singapore

Singapore

Location and infrastructure

The Republic of Singapore is a Southeast Asian island city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometers (85 mi) north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. 

Population

The population was estimated to be 5.35 million in July 2012. The main ethnic groups are Chinese (76%), Malay (14%) and Indian (8%). 

Language

Singapore has four official languages: English, Mandarin Chinese (or Standard Chinese to be more precise), Malay, and Tamil. English is the language most used for business purposes.

Currency

The local currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD).

Tax system

The Singapore tax system offers significant advantages for companies based in Singapore. 

Briefly the main advantages are:

  • Tax rate on corporate profits for up to 300,000 SGD: 8.5%
  • Tax rate on corporate profits above 300,000 SGD: 17%
  • Tax rate on capital gains accrued by the company: 0%
  • Tax rate on dividend distribution to shareholders: 0%
  • Tax rate on foreign-sourced income not brought into Singapore: 0%
  • Tax rate on foreign-sourced income brought into Singapore: 0 – 17% subject to conditions.

Double tax treaties

Singapore has concluded tax treaties with more 50 countries and the list continues to grow. The treaties reflect Singapore’s continual efforts to help businesses in relieving double taxation and to encourage and facilitate the trade and investment opportunities across-borders.

Starting 2008, Singapore has gone a step further in providing unilateral tax credits to Singapore companies. According to the new policy, all Singapore companies that earned income from countries that don’t have double tax agreement with Singapore, will be allowed a tax credit on their foreign-sourced income from those countries.

The following countries are among those which have double-tax treaties with Singapore, although not all have been ratified at the time of writing:

  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • China
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Finland 
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zeeland
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Vietnam

Legal system

Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of Government based on the Westminster Model. The roots of Singapore’s legal system can be traced back to the English legal system and it has evolved over the years. Its sources of law are derived from its Constitution, legislation, subsidiary legislation (e.g. Rules and Regulations etc) and judge-made law. 

Banking

Singapore is a flourishing financial centre of international repute servicing not only its domestic economy per se but also the entire Asia Pacific region. The banking industry is a key player in the country’s financial market segment, soon emerging as one of the strongest in the world.

Private banks such as UBS, Credit Suisse, Citigroup and Standard Chartered to name a few, provide:

  • global wealth management services
  • wealth and lifestyle advisory services
  • investment strategies
  • tax and estate planning
  • asset protection
  • credit services

Types Of Companies

Singapore is very pro-business in both its tax regime and its variety of business organization types that may be registered in Singapore. Types of business structures are:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Local Private Companies:

    Private Limited Company

    Exempt Private Limited Company

  • Local Public Companies:

    Company Limited by Share

    Company Limited by Guarantee

  • Foreign Companies (Singapore Branch Office)
  • Representative Office (non-trading, for market survey)