Singapore: The ultimate frontier for smart entrepreneurs

A special breed of global entrepreneurs and investors exist these days. They are not restricted to borders or confined within regimes that have punitive taxes and high levels of sovereign debt. They tend to ask smarter questions and arrive at better answers. What they also do is to look at things holistically to get their work/life/tax balance right. Whereas once upon a time many of these people ended up in strongholds such as Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg or even in the Bahamas, today many of them conclude that Singapore is the place to be. Indeed Singapore is a country that has risen with strong growth to a GDP per capita position that now exceeds $52K – making it the leader in quality of life and prosperity around Asia.

Why is it such a popular choice these days?

Before walking you through is typically done to set up a business in Singapore, let’s first consider why it has become such a popular choice. One word could sum it up: Balance. It really has a unique combination of things that are critical to smart business people which results in a unique balance for those who plan right. Taxation is merely the starting point, and there are many places with lox tax. However Singapore also has a highly efficient legal system that has gone digital – on par with London and Sydney, based on common law. Furthermore, it has amazing weather all year round and it is a city with around 4.6 million people which has a real buzz. Adding to this, Singapore has modern first world infrastructure, which perhaps is the vitiating factor to attract so much expats from around the world.

People are often surprised about the ease of doing business:

Most people are surprised to hear how seamless the process can be if you use the right consultancy. Can you imagine stopping by just one consultants’ office, from where they take care of incorporation, corporate governance, tax and accountancy – and even migration matters? This is indeed how things are done at Sandhurst consultancy in Singapore. One of the key enablers for such a one-stop solution, is not only different specialities within on consultancy – but also the country’s highly efficient administrative system. So what exactly needs to be done before you can do business in Singapore or use a business there as your offshore vehicle?

The process of setting up your Singapore business:

With reference to what we’ve learned from E-Sandhurst, a prominent consultancy this is how it works: A business consultant will assess your needs and advise on the most suitable corporate structure. This may include an EPC (Exempt private company) which has some major tax breaks. Other options may include for example a Singapore branch office or sole proprietorship. Next there will be a few ongoing matters to insure statutory compliance – typical matters of corporate governance, for which the consultant will appoint a corporate secretarial service. Finally, with the business up and running – accounting and tax needs to be taken care of: annual audited accounts are prepared. Then, further tax advice can be taken to benefit from a system that is set up for smart entrepreneurs, used by many around the world. Read more about Singapore incorporation here.

Things to do before heading to Singapore:

Preparation is always a good thing. As far as expatriates are concerned, it helps to gain insight about a new jurisdiction. For many it starts with tax planning: taking consultancy on this matter can yield great outcomes. Then, research on things like property, schools and the best neighbourhoods will come in handy. You can also access transparent information on taxes from the government of Singapore.

Conclusion on Singapore as a top business and expat destination:

Moving a business to Singapore or even an entire whole family, should be based on a variety of factors. One thing is sure: Singapore now outranks many destinations that used to be top choices. When you study the facts carefully and visit the country, the reason becomes quite apparent.