Tag Archives: Domicile

Singapore Tops Hong Kong as Residence for Mobile Rich in Asia

Hotel guests are seen at the infinity pool at the SkyPark atop Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Courtesy of photographer: Sam Kang Li/Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg news; Singapore topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so-called mobile millionaires to reside, with quality of life cited as the main attraction, a RBC Wealth Management (RY)survey showed.

Almost a third of the millionaires in Asia who live, work or spend more than half their time outside their countries of origin prefer Singapore, while 24 percent pick Hong Kong, the second most popular in the region, RBC and The Economist Intelligence Unit said in a joint research report yesterday.

Singapore topped Hong Kong as the most desired place in Asia for so called mobile millionaires to reside, with quality of life cited as the main attraction, a RBC Wealth Management survey showed.

Real estate led the list of preferred assets for the internationally mobile wealthy, according to the survey, which showed 23 percent of those in Singapore reporting a “high propensity” for property investment, compared with 7 percent in North America. The island’s home prices climbed to a record in the third quarter, prompting the government to restrict home loans and cap property development. Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook Inc., moved to Singapore in 2009, and Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, relocated there in 2007.

“Singapore always has this quality as a safe haven, not just for your money, but also for your family,” said Wai Ho Leong, a senior regional economist at Barclays Plc in Singapore.

For mobile millionaires who moved to Singapore, 89 percent ranked quality of life as important and 83 percent cited the country’s political stability as important, the survey showed. Infrastructure and educational opportunity were also given as reasons to live there.

Most Millionaires

Singapore posted a 14 percent increase in millionaire households to 188,000 last year, when the Asia-Pacific region countered a decline in wealth in Western Europe and the U.S., according to a Boston Consulting Group report published May 31.

The proportion of millionaire homes in the city was 17 percent, the highest in the world, followed by Qatar and Kuwait, according to Boston Consulting Group. Singapore has a population of 5.3 million, of which about 2 million are foreigners.

“High net worth individuals with global outlooks for their businesses and families are choosing Singapore to live and invest in,” Barend Janssens, the Singapore-based head of RBC’s wealth-management unit for emerging markets, said in a statement.

The city-state is grappling with the elevated inflation that comes with years of economic growth and population expansion on an island smaller than New York City, with rising demand fueling record property and car prices.

Property Boom

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the island’s private residential property price index rose 0.6 percent to a record 208.2 points, according to government data. In prime districts, apartment prices gained 0.2 percent, compared with a 1 percent increase in the suburbs.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore told lenders on Oct. 5 to restrict home-loan maturities “to curb continued upward pressure on residential property prices,” in an attempt to avert a housing bubble. The government said in September it plans to cap the number of homes that can be developed in suburban projects as it seeks to curb the increasing trend of so-called shoebox apartments.

The cost of a permit to own a small car for 10 years rose to an unprecedented S$78,523 ($64,300) on Dec. 5 from S$46,889 at the start of the year. That excludes the cost of buying a car. The government auctions limited vehicle permits to control congestion and pollution.

“Only if you’re very young and highly qualified would you want to rough it out in Hong Kong for a few years,” Leong said. “But once you have kids, the pollution gets to you, the lack of greenery gets to you, the crowdedness gets to you.”

Doing Business

Hong Kong is the best place to do business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The city of about 7 million people secured the top position in an index based on six criteria including the degree of economic integration and labor costs. Singapore ranked ninth in the index published in March by Bloomberg Rankings.

Hong Kong acts as the gateway to China, the world’s most populous nation, with free-market policies and low corporate taxes.

“Hong Kong is a very big financial center in the region and in recent years has also benefited a lot from China opening up its markets,” said Frances Cheung, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Credit Agricole CIB. Hong Kong is “about the opportunities, especially in the financial world.”

The World Bank ranks Singapore and Hong Kong top in its gauge focused on the ease of doing business. The Washington- based Heritage Foundation has named Hong Kong the world’s freest economy for 18 successive years.

See the full article from Bloomberg here.

Panama – City of Knowledge offers no taxes for research and high tech corporations

Panama has established City of Knowledge in order to attract research and high tech corporations. This includes internet commerce, bio and nano tech corporations. Only 15 minutes drive from down town Panama City it also offer great life style possibilities.


Panama City, Republic of Panama     Picture courtesy of Photoatlas

City of Knowledge

Being part of the City of Knowledge implies a commitment to innovation and sustainable development, but it also involves a broad range of benefits designed to make your operations more effective.

Here are some of the direct benefits for affiliates and users recognized by the City of Knowledge:

  1. Tax and immigration benefits through affiliation to the City of Knowledge Foundation project.
  2. Telecommunications, IT and educational technology services, including an intelligent high-tech center with the required capacity for teleconferences, distance learning, fast internet connections, and other services.
  1. A Point of Presence -POP- with direct access to the land portion of 5 International Fiber Optic cables that go across Panama (PAC, SAC, ARCOS, Pan-American and MAYA).
  2. Infrastructure and buildings in good maintenance condition, easily adaptable to various uses.
  3. Technical, administrative and consulting services. Constant electricity flow (99.9%) with redundant power supply from the Panama Canal thermal plant located 300 m (328 yards) away in the Miraflores locks.
  4. Complementary accommodation and catering service.
  5. Sports and recreation facilities.
  6. Access to the major higher learning and scientific research centers in the country.
  7. Access to the Panama Canal Basin, a living laboratory for scientific research and technological innovation on advanced tropical ecosystem management.
  8. Central location: next to the Panama Canal, 15 minutes from downtown Panama City, 5 minutes from Amador resort and 45 minutes from Colón city, located on the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

Here are the incentives for those participating in the project under Executive Order # 6 of February 10, 1998, which states the basis for the Panamanian State’s support to the City of Knowledge Foundation.

Tax Benefits

  1. Exemption from all taxes, levies, fees or import duties on machines, equipment, furniture, vehicles, appliances or materials necessary for the operation of companies accepted into the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  2. Exemption from Service and Personal Tangible Asset Transfer Tax (ITBMS) on machinery, equipment, vehicles, appliances and materials purchased or necessary for the operation of companies accepted into the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  3. Exemption from any taxes, fees, duties or levies on overseas money remittance when such money remittance or transfer is done for the purposes of companies accepted into the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  4. Innovating companies producing, assembling or processing high-tech goods or rendering similar services for sale in the local or international market at the International Technopark of Panama (ITP) will have the following benefits:
    1. Their activities, operations, transactions, procedures and transfers of personal and real property, purchase and import of equipment and construction material, raw materials, machinery, tools, accessories and supplies will be a hundred percent free of direct taxes, levies, fees, duties and national taxes. This includes income tax exemption for companies.
    2. Their capital will be free from direct national taxes, including patent or license tax.

Immigration Benefits

The State will grant special visas to foreign staff entering the country to contribute to the development of the City of Knowledge project. For further information, see the Immigration and Naturalization Bureau website.

Labor Benefits

Companies affiliated to the City of Knowledge are authorized to hire any international staff necessary for their operation.


Malta gives tax breaks to attract expat pensioners

Malta launches new schemes to attract expat pensioners and promote a new generous tax incentive scheme to encourage European individuals to transfer their pensions to, and take up residence in Malta.

Under the scheme, which is exclusively available to European Union, European Economic Area, or Swiss nationals, income tax will be fixed at 15%, with a minimum tax liability of EUR7,500 per annum, plus EUR500 for each dependant.

To be eligible for the scheme, applicants would need to fulfil a number of conditions, including:

Purchasing a property worth at least EUR275,000 in Malta, or EUR250,000 in Gozo, or renting a property for EUR9,600 per annum in Malta, or EUR8,750 in Gozo.

Applicants must spend a minimum of 90 days in Malta per annum, averaged over a five-year period. In addition, they must not reside in any other single jurisdiction for more than 183 days in a year.

Marsascala, Malta   picture above courtesy Best of European Union, is a town located at the Marsascala Bay on the southeastern part of the island of Malta. It is a popular travel destination.

The individual’s entire pension would have to be remitted and taxed in Malta, and 75% of the income chargeable to tax in Malta would have to arise from pension or similar income, including lifetime annuities, personal pension plans, occupational pension.

Venezuela a new tax haven in Latin America

Mexico is attractive but Venezuelans pay the least taxes in Latin America, while Argentines and Brazilians pay the most according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), just released onTuesday.

Venezuela had the lowest tax take in Latin America at just 11.4% of national income, according to the report prepared by the OECD, Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations and the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean.

Caracas, Venezuela. Picture by Stockphoto

Mexico, the second largest economy in the region and one of only two Latin American countries in the OECD, was confirmed as having the OECD’s lowest tax with 18.8%.

the Netherlands Antilles – Curaçao

General Taxation system of the Netherlands Antilles

Curaçao’s Economy is based on shipping, tourism and oil refining. The total population is 150,000 and speak at least four languages including Dutch as the official language, but English, Spanish are also spoken.

Curacao Photos
This photo of Curacao is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Curaçao has nearly perfect weather year-round with temperatures between 70-80° F/23-32° C during the day and 60-70° F/15-27° C at night. The island lies outside the main hurricane belt. October-December is the rainy season, but the rain seldom lasts long. The coolest months are January and February, and the hottest are August and September.

The Government of Curaçao, as well as the leading companies, are aiming to make Curaçao a center of e-Business excellence, through investments in all areas of the Island’s technology infrastructure. For e-Commerce companies who establish themselves in these e-Zones a 0% turnover tax and 2% profit tax is applicable, and is exempted from import duties, turnover tax on imported goods.  Foreign employees assigned to an E-business enterprise on Curaçao could apply for the current expatriate legislation. This legislation provides wage tax incentives for employees as well as employers. With the introduction of the e-Zone legislation Curaçao can provide important tax incentives for global e-commerce enterprises.

Non-residents do not have to pay income tax from income generated from outside the Netherlands Antilles.

The 5 islands of the Netherlands Antilles have in principle the same tax laws, although the sales tax on Curaçao and Bonaire is different from the sales tax on St Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius or Statia.

The income/profit tax of residents is levied on the income / profit generated world-wide, while foreign residents are subject to Netherlands Antilles tax if they generate income or profit from Netherlands Antilles sources. The tax system is a so called classical system, which means that a corporation must pay tax on its profit while the shareholder of such corporation must (again) pay tax on dividends received from the corporation. There are however certain facilities that reduce or eliminate this economic double tax effect.

Although Aruba and The Netherlands are part of the same Dutch Kingdom and the tax laws have been the same up to the period around the second world war, the tax laws of these three parts of the Kingdom have changed in different directions. The fact that the tax laws originate from the same system makes it possible to have the same judges decide on the tax law disputes. The judges from the Netherlands fly in at least twice a year to settle tax cases.

Each part of the Dutch Kingdom has its own right to tax which means that there is also the possibility of double taxation. Already in 1964 the Dutch Kingdom has one Tax Arrangement that solves double taxation issues and arranges for the possibilities to exchange information. This TAK (Tax Arrangement for the Dutch Kingdom) has been amended several times and is at this moment (June 2006) again in discussion on the subject of the dividends paid from the Netherlands to the Netherlands Antilles.

The social security system covers on the national level old age (AOV), widows and orphans (AWW) and exceptional medical expenses (AVBZ) and on the employer-level sickness (ZV) and accident insurance (OV).

The collection of the taxes and social security contributions is being divided between the Island Collector (EO), the Land Collector (LO) and the Social Security Bank (SVB).

Curaçao has special Income Tax Facilities for Penshonado Expatriates:

The income tax offers a favorable pensioners (“penshonado”) tax regime. This regime is available on the following conditions:

– The “penshonado” should be at least 50 years old on the date that he registers himself as a resident

– The pensioner should not have lived in the Netherlands Antilles in the five years before making the application for the  “penshonado” status

– The pensioner must own a house in the Netherlands Antilles with a value of at least ANG 450,000 (US$ 253,000) for his personal use within 18 months after his registration as a resident

– The “penshonado” must have requested the penshonado status from the tax inspector within two months after registration in the municipality register

– The penshonado must be a legally admitted resident

– The “penshonado” and his wife may in general not generate income from activities within the Netherlands Antilles unless this income is generated from a company established in the Netherlands Antilles and in which the “penshonado” has a participation of at least 40% or the income is generated from being a supervisory director of a company.

The income tax rate applicable on the income of the “penshonado” is 10% and is solely applicable to income from foreign sources (or which is considered to be income from foreign sources according to the income tax law such as interest on bank accounts kept within the Netherlands Antilles). It is also possible to report a fixed income of ANG 500,000 (USD 281,000) at the progressive income tax rate as mentioned above.