In Focus
ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore hailed 2nd simplest market to do business in Asia

The Lion City scored exceptionally well in its accounting and tax standards.

Singapore ranked second amongst least complex markets to run a business in Asia, lagging behind Hong Kong, according to a TMF Group’s Global Business Complexity Index (GBCI) report. Globally, the market nabbed 18th place.

The Lion City scored exceptionally well in its accounting and tax standards, ranking 10th simplest in the world, due to its alignment with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), tax clarity and relative ease of filing requirements. Other favourable considerations are Singapore’s competitive corporate tax rate of 17% and double tax agreements (DTAs) signed with over 80 different countries. Additionally, the government’s continued focus on digitisation has resulted in simplified e-filing processes.

In terms of managing human resources and payroll, Singapore ranks above average at 28th globally, due to its transparent employment and payroll guidelines, ease of hiring and focus on talent. Boosting its available workforce, the local retirement age will be raised in 2022 from 62 to 65 years old, and re-employment age from 67 to 70 years old.

For rules, regulations and penalties, Singapore holds 36th spot globally. Whilst its laws are based on a common law framework allowing for transparency and consistency, TMF stated that Lion City continues to step up enforcement action on basic compliance obligations, such as convening AGMs and filings, giving rise to business complexity.

“Despite these uncertain times, Singapore is still a highly attractive regional and international business hub given the relative simplicity of doing business here,” said Edmund Lee, managing director Singapore, TMF Group. “Even so, evolving compliance requirements and strict enforcement may make it more intricate to do business than before, and Singapore firms need to better understand the rules of engagement with regulators and integrate them into their policies.”

In other APAC jurisdictions Indonesia is hailed as the most complex market to run a business followed by China, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and India.

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