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Singapore Tax Regime Ranks High In Predictability, Consistency: Deloitte

26 Apr 2017

Claire Huang

India and China becoming less predictable, more complex in comparison


SINGAPORE'S tax regime continues to rank well in terms of predictability and consistency, making it among the markets in the Asia-Pacific region with the highest scores, a survey on tax complexity found.

Deloitte's Asia-Pacific Tax Complexity Survey released on Tuesday found that more than 87 per cent of respondents indicated that Singapore had "an intermediate" to "very high level" of predictability in its tax regime. This allows taxpayers to anticipate the direction and potential changes in tax laws.

India, China and Indonesia have been highlighted as becoming less predictable in comparison, as they go through significant economic and political reforms while responding to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiatives.

The poll of more than 300 financial and tax executives on the current and anticipated tax environment of 20 jurisdictions across the Asia-Pacific region found that more than 91 per cent of participants indicated that Singapore was consistent or very consistent in the enforcement of prevailing tax laws. Others also ranked high in this category include Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

Regionally, the report said that almost 70 per cent of those polled agree that the consistency of tax regimes have not differed much from three years ago.

In terms of the perceived level of difficulty in interpretation of tax laws, just over 80 per cent of those polled said that Singapore's tax regime had not changed much from three years ago, or had become less complicated.

Across the region, 35 per cent of those surveyed said that tax regimes had turned more complex in the past three years. In particular, larger markets such as China, India and Australia were viewed as having increasingly complex tax regimes.

China and India were the two most complicated in terms of tax compliance and reporting obligation. On the other hand, Hong Kong and Singapore were viewed as having the simplest requirements.

Low Hwee Chua, regional managing partner for tax and legal, Deloitte Singapore and South-east Asia, said: "The Singapore government has gradually changed direction in recent years, moving away from broad-based fiscal measures in favour of targeted assistance for businesses. That Singapore continues to score well in the latest survey and maintains its position as one of the most consistent, most predictable and least complex jurisdiction in the Asia-Pacific is testament to a well-managed transition process by the authorities."

Other findings include how the implementation of BEPS is now a top priority for governments and companies, as well as the need to strengthen relationships with tax authorities so as to manage and mitigate tax risks.

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.