• On 8 April 2016, the Manpower Minister of Singapore announced in the Parliament that new criterion will be introduced in approving work pass applications aiming at strengthening the competitiveness of the Singapore workforce. In particular, areas which will be looked at include (1) the proportion of foreign employees in a company, (2) whether a company tried to recruit Singaporeans for the job, and (3) the extent of a company's contribution to the Singapore economy and society. Companies deemed weak in all three areas may face difficulties in renewing the employment passes of existing foreign employees and obtaining new ones for new expatriate hires.
  • The Mergers & Acquisitions Scheme which was introduced in 2010 is further enhanced. For qualifying M&A deals made from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020, the M&A tax allowance will equal to 25% of consideration paid per year for up to S$50 million (up from S$20 million). Stamp duty relief will be granted for up to S$40 million of the consideration paid for qualifying M&A deals per year.
  • The Finance and Treasury Centre ("FTC") Scheme is extended for another 5 years to 31 March 2021. The concessionary tax rate has been further reduced to 8% on income from qualifying activities and services. In addition, withholding tax exemption is extended to interest payments on deposits placed with the FTC by non-resident approved offices and associated companies.
  • Tax incentive for trustee companies that originally scheduled to lapse after 31 March 2016 has been extended with further details to be released by June 2016 from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Scope of qualifying activities will be expanded to align with trustee activities covered under the Financial Sector Incentive Standard Tier Scheme. Concessionary tax rate of 12% will be offered to new incentive recipients while existing award holders continue to enjoy the 10% concessionary rate until expiry of their current awards.
  • Tax concession for employer-provided home leave passage for expatriate employees, the Approved Investment Company Scheme (introduced to promote the investment management industry in Singapore) and the tax exemption on income derived by non-resident trading in Singapore in specified commodities via consignment arrangements will all be withdrawn from the Year of Assessment 2018.

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