Singapore is one of the easiest places to settle-in. According to the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook 2006, Singapore is ranked 4th among the countries with the least restrictive immigration laws for employing foreign labour, and the least restrictive in Asia. Because of Singapore\'s history in attracting foreign professionals, most relocation requirements have been anticipated and catered for to make settling-in effortless.
Countries with the Least Restrictive Immigration Laws for Employing Foreign Labour
Source: IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2006
Quality of Living
Singapore offer one of the best living conditions in the world, in addition to its unrivalled opportunities. It has one of the world\'s highest standards of living, lowest crime rates and political stability. The country has a world-class education system, excellent healthcare service, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, as well as a wide range of entertainment, dining and leisure activities, making Singapore an excellent place to work, live and play.
According to major international surveys, including the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) "Quality of Life Index 2005", IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005 and Mercer Human Resource "Worldwide Quality of Living Survey 2006", Singapore has the best quality of life in Asia.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Singapore is moderate, compared to leading cities globally. In a worldwide survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting in 2006, Singapore ranks 6th in Asia, behind Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Osaka and Beijing, and 17th in the world. The survey covers 144 cities across six continents, and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
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Personal Income Tax
Singapore has a well-regulated tax system, and personal income tax rates are generally lower than in other developed countries. It uses a territorial basis of taxation, where tax is imposed on income derived from or accrued in Singapore. The source of income is determined mainly by the location at which the services are rendered.
Resident individuals are subject to personal income tax both on income derived in Singapore and income received in Singapore from sources outside Singapore. They are taxable at progressive rates from 0% to 21% (among the lowest in the world) and are entitled to claim certain personal reliefs. Generally, an individual is resident if he or she is physically present or exercises employment in Singapore for 183 days or more in the calendar year.
Non-resident individuals are taxed at a flat rate of 15% of gross income, or the resident\'s graduated rate, whichever is higher. In addition, they can opt to be taxed based on net income (ie gross income less allowable expenses) at prevailing corporate tax rate. Non-resident individuals are exempted from income tax, if they work in Singapore for 60 days or less in a calendar year.
Husband and wife are generally treated as one taxpayer, although the wife may elect to be separately assessed on her personal income.
Regional representatives based in Singapore and employed by the representative office of an overseas company may be taxed concessionary on income pro-rated based on days spent in Singapore provided certain requirements are met.
Employer-provided fringe benefits are taxed. But as a number of benefits are taxed on a concessionary basis (e.g. housing) in Singapore, it is possible to reduce an individual\'s tax liability through appropriate structuring of his/her remuneration package.
Central Provident Fund (CPF)
Foreigners on Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass or Work Permit are exempt from CPF contributions in Singapore.
Double taxation can be avoided or minimised by unilateral tax credits and double tax treaties, depending on the type of foreign source income and the source country. Only Singapore resident companies and individuals are entitled to claim such tax credits. Singapore has concluded tax relief agreements with more than 50 countries to avoid double taxation. Click here for more information: