ECONOMY, FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

2 biggest themes to watch for in Singapore Budget 2014

Government urged to keep it 'simple'.

According to a release, ahead of the Singapore Budget Announcement, the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals (SIATP) advocates that the Budget 2014 should be a “Keep it Simple, Singapore” (KISS) Budget in order for Singapore to gallop ahead in its productivity drive.

Based on feedback gathered from its members, comprising tax professionals from various industries ranging from accounting firms, law firms, educational institutes and commercial sector, on what Singapore Budget 2014 should entail, SIATP has consolidated these comments and key themes have been highlighted in the following paragraphs.

Generally the inputs from tax professionals can be summed up into two themes – feedback on initiatives that would reinforce Singapore’s competitiveness and secondly, a call for Budget 2014 to be an understanding one for its people. Underlying both themes is a common thread that productivity and competitiveness can be given a boost by simply keeping things simple.

Reinforcing Singapore’s Competitiveness

Whilst Singapore has introduced tax benefits and incentives for the earlier phase of IP creation during the research & development (R&D) stage, there is currently no specified back-end tax benefit or incentive in connection with the commercialisation of IP from Singapore.

This is in contrast to other countries which have both front-end incentives such as R&D incentives, and back-end incentives such as patent/innovation box regimes, for commercialisation of IP, which is an important key component in the IP lifecycle.

To ensure that Singapore remains competitive in the IP tax landscape especially in Asia, Singapore should consider building upon the incentives framework in the creation stage and introducing appropriate tax incentives with preferential tax treatment (through either reduced tax rates or exemption of qualifying IP income) for the commercialisation of qualifying IP that could also include unpatented intangibles arising from approved R&D activities.

Aligning Taxes and Understanding People

To reflect a Budget that understands and building on the firm foundations of current schemes, it is also proposed that the current cap of $5,500 course fee relief be increased to $8,000 for individuals who attend courses relevant to their employment or trade. With the rising costs and the nation’s drive towards higher productivity, it is thus proposed that the cap be increased.  

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