Happy Year of the Monkey

Welcome to CST’s first newsletter of the year. The 8th February 2016 marked the start of the Lunar New Year and the commencement of the year of the Monkey. To mark the occasion, the Singapore office was blessed by two Lions and a monkey from the Wen Yang Lion Dance Troupe. This Chinese tradition is used to mark the start of the New Year and aims to scare off the evil spirits and bring good health, prosperity and good luck.

Monkey is the ninth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac. The Years of the Monkey include 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and 2016.

The Monkey, is characterized by a clever and creative mind. The Monkey is always interested in learning and new experiences. This curiosity can be seen in the Monkey’s varied and, sometimes, impulsive interests. Often detesting routine, the Monkey is not above finding trouble in mischievous actions.

Famous Monkey’s include Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Aniston, Gisele Bundchen, Chelsea Clinton and Will Smith.

2016 is looking to be a great year for CST. Details of news and current events are included below, as well as updates regarding the 2016 Singapore Budget.

 

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Boon Tan Comes Home

CST Singapore is pleased to welcome Boon Tan as its new Managing Director. Boon who is a Principal working in the CST Sydney office will move permanently to Singapore in July with his family.

Boon is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor who focuses on taxation compliance and advisory issues for high net worth family groups including asset protection, structuring for wealth accumulation and family office services.

CST International General Manager, Geraldine Chapman recently sat down with Boon to talk to him about his impending move to Expatland;

Let’s start with your name – Boon Tan. It’s so Singaporean but you’re Australian born Chinese. How is it then that you have such a Singaporean name?
Mum and Dad are from the Malay Peninsula and came to Sydney in the late 1950s for matriculation and just never went back. My mum actually went to high school in Singapore and was captain of the Singapore girls’ national basketball team. When I was born, my parents did give me a Western name but unlike my sister Lisa, never used with me – so I have always known my name to be “Boon” since as far back as I remember.

Given that you have never lived outside of Sydney, are you nervous about the move to Singapore?
Not at all! I have several aunts, uncles and cousins who live in Singapore and also a number of friends from Sydney who moved up to Singapore to work themselves. In addition, I spoke both the Mandarin and Hokkien dialect at home with my parents – whilst I am no linguistic expert, I know enough for us to get around the city and do the things we need to do.

My wife has been to Singapore a few times as well and loves the vibe of the city. And from speaking to expat friends and clients, we hear that it is a great place to raise children. So we as a family are all looking forward to the move.

So if you are not nervous, what are you most excited about moving to Singapore?
The food!!! My wife and I love our SE Asian cuisine and the hawker food in Singapore is second to none! But in all seriousness I am very much looking forward to the challenge of working in Singapore with its dynamic and fast paced lifestyle. I am also excited by the opportunities that exist not only in Singapore but the greater Asian region for someone like me and CST Tax Advisors to help locals and expats alike handle their global tax affairs.

We have a great team in the Singapore office and I look forward to continuing to work with clients, prospects and other local advisors who are seeking professional advice from international tax experts like ourselves.

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Personal Returns Due Soon

As 31 December marked the end of the Singaporean tax year for individuals, it is now time to start preparing to file your tax return for the 2015 year of assessment as the due date is 15 April 2016.

Where you are wishing to make a claim under the Not Ordinarily Resident Scheme, you must be able to show that they have spent at least 90 days outside of Singapore for the 2015 year of assessment for work purposes and have total Singaporean employment income of at least $160,000.

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Australian Federal Budget – May 2016

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison will hand down their first Federal Budgets this May. With Turnbull looking to show the electorate his credentials to continue to be Prime Minister ahead of this years’ Federal election, there has been a great deal of speculation and discussion about what changes may be introduced.

Matthew Marcarian and Boon Tan will be presenting a budget update breakfast with the Australian Chamber of Commerce on 12 May 2016. The update will confirm all the changes announced in the 2016 Budget and also how it will impact expatriates who currently hold assets in Australia or planning to return in the not too distant future.

More information about the event will be available through our social media sites. Alternatively you may contact AustCham Singapore for more details.

 

b2981dbd-4d3e-4e18-a7b3-d6d8807d5303Expatland Giving Back Fund

CST International is very pleased to announce the launch of its philanthropic arm – Expatland Giving Back Fund (EBGF).

EGBF’s goal is to provide the citizens of Expatland an opportunity to contribute back to their local community by committing their time and resources.

The CST team will hold volunteering events in Singapore and Sydney in April. For more information please visit our website www.expatlandgiving.org.

 

Budget2016 Budget Announcements

The 2016 Singapore Budget was handed down on 24 March 2016. This Budget was the first after the celebration of Singapore’s 50th year of independence and focused on the new challenges for the country – it was therefore themed as a Budget focused on “Partnering for the Future”. In delivering the Budget Statement, Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, outlined new measures that focused on both households and businesses in line with the Partnership theme.

Some of the key measures announced for Households are:

  • Introduce a new Child Development Account (CDA) First Step grant of $3,000 for all eligible Singaporean children. Parents will automatically receive $3,000 in their child’s CDA. To be eligible, a child must be a Singapore citizen and the parents must be lawfully married.
  • Increase the Medisave withdrawal limit for pre-delivery expenses from $450 to $900. This will take effect for births from 24 March 2016.
  • Commencing in from Year of Assessment 2018, there will be a personal income tax relief cap on the total amount of such reliefs an individual can claim, at $80,000 per Year of Assessment.

Some of the key measures announced for Businesses are:

  • The existing Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Rebate will be raised from 30% of tax payable to 50% of tax payable, with a cap of $20,000 rebate each year for Year of Assessment (YA) 2016 and YA 2017.
  • To support viable SMEs that may have cash flow concerns or wish to continue growing their business, the Government will introduce a new SME Working Capital Loan scheme, for loans of up to $300,000 per SME. Under this scheme, the Government will co-share 50% of the default risk of these loans with participating financial institutions, to encourage lending to SMEs. These Loans will be available for three years, starting from 2016.
  • Support more firms in their internationalisation efforts through assistance such as the Global Company Partnership and Market Readiness Assistance programmes.
  • Extend the Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation scheme, till 31 March 2020. This covers qualifying expenses incurred for activities such as participation in overseas business development and investment study trips.
  • SG-Innovate: To promote start-ups in new and existing industries, the Government will set up a new entity called “SG-Innovate”. SG-Innovate will match budding entrepreneurs with mentors, introduce them to venture capital firms, help them to access talent in research institutes, and open up new markets.
  • Jurong Innovation District: To create an open and innovative urban environment, the Government will launch the Jurong Innovation District, which will bring together learning, innovation, research, and production to create products and services of the future.

 

Expat Blog Post Featuring John Marcarian

Leading expat social network Expat-blog.com has recently posted an article about John Marcarian and his experiences as an expatriate.

In the article John talks about important issues such as establishing the CST Singapore office, finding the right accommodation, settling in to the Singaporean lifestyle and how Expatland the book can help soon-to-be expatriates.

Specially designed for those living or wishing to live abroad, Expat blog provides you information and advice to settle and live overseas.

Expat blog helps you throughout your project. Discover life in your host country, get in touch with the other expats and find all the info needed for your everyday life.

To read the article, visit the Expat Blog site on www.expat-blog.com or click on the link http://www.expat-blog.com/en/interview/426_john-in-singapore.html

2015 Singapore Budget Brief

Celebrating Singapore’s 50th year of independence, the 2015 budget was delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance on 23 February 2015. Also known as the “Jubilee Budget”, much of the focus in the budget has been placed on the country’s ability to provide the required resources to Singaporeans for their future, for example, through promoting innovation and by providing tax incentives to encourage the businesses for their international efforts.

Below are some of the highlights:

Corporate Income Tax Rebate

The Corporate Income Tax Rate remains at 17% and the partial tax exemption of a company’s first $300,000 of normal chargeable income (CI) is also to stay in place. The Corporate Income Tax Rebate which allows companies to receive a 30% rebate on their tax payable to a cap of $30,000 will be extended for another two Year of Assessments (YAs) until 2017 YA. However, the maximum rebate will reduce to $20,000 in 2016 and 2017 YAs from current $30,000. Companies that have chargeable income less than $540,000 (ie. in YAs 2016 and 2017) will not be affected by the new measure.

Change in Top Marginal Tax Rate

The marginal tax rates for the highest income earners with chargeable income above $320,000 will increase from 20% to 22%. However, the government has also announced a personal income tax rebate of 50% capped at $1,000 per taxpayer, which is be granted to all tax resident individual taxpayers for YA 2015.

 

Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation Scheme

Businesses may claim 200% tax deduction on qualifying expenditure incurred on qualifying market expansion and investment development activities. The scope of qualifying expenditure supported under the Double Tax Deduction (DTD) for Internationalisation scheme will be enhanced to include qualifying manpower expenses incurred for Singaporeans posted to new overseas entities.

The amount of qualifying manpower expenses to be allowed a DTD will be capped at $1m per approved entity per year for expenses incurred from 1 July 2015 to 31 March 2020.  Businesses will have to apply to International Enterprise (IE) Singapore to enjoy the concession on manpower expenses. Further details to be released by May 2015.

Introduction of International Growth Scheme (IGS)

This is a new scheme by the Government with the aim of providing greater and more targeted support for larger Singapore companies in their internationalisation efforts. Under the IGS, qualifying Singapore companies will enjoy a concessionary tax rate of 10% for a period not exceeding five years on their incremental income from qualifying activities such as headquarter functions and specific business lines. IE will release further details by May 2015.

Approved Royalties Incentive (ARI)

The ARI was introduced to encourage companies to access cutting-edge technology and know-how for substantive activities in Singapore. Under the scheme, tax exemption or a concessionary tax rate may be granted on approved royalties, technical assistance fees or contributions to R&D costs made to a non-resident for providing cutting-edge technology and know-how to a company for the purpose of its substantive activities in Singapore.  A review date of 31 December 2023 will be legislated for this scheme to ensure that the relevance of the scheme is periodically reviewed.

Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme & PIC Bonus

The Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme was enhanced in 2011 to grant a total of 400% tax deduction or allowance for the first for the first $400,000 of expenditure for qualifying expenses incurred from YA 2011 to YA 2018. The qualifying activities are (subject to conditions):

– R&D activities
– registration of intellectual property rights (IPR)
– acquisition of IPR
– investments in design done in Singapore
– spending on equipment or software aimed at automating processes; and
– costs of training employees so as to upgrade skills and capabilities

To encourage small businesses to undertake meaningful productivity investments, businesses that invest a minimum $5,000 per YA in qualifying activities under the PIC scheme are entitled to the cash bonus (PIC Bonus) equal to the PIC expenditure incurred up to an overall cap of $15,000 for all three YAs combined (YA 2013 – YA 2015). There has been a good take-up of the PIC scheme and the PIC Bonus will be allowed to expire after YA 2015 as it was intended as a transitional measure. However, businesses will continue to benefit from the PIC scheme extended until YA 2018.