Singapore's tax policies among most consistent in region: survey

Singapore has scored well in a global survey of countries' consistency in their tax policies, which businesses deem a key investment consideration in the Asia Pacific.

The 2014 Deloitte Asia Pacific Tax Complexity survey, released on Monday, found that businesses looking to enter or exit a market in the region are more concerned about whether that country's tax policies are consistent, than whether they are complex or predictable.

Consistency refers to the perceived uniformity and transparency of enforcing tax laws.

This finding is a reversal of its previous study in 2010, which found that businesses then placed greater emphasis on complexity in tax policies - the perceived difficulty in interpreting a jurisdiction's tax laws - and predictability, which refers to the availability of information that enables taxpayers to foresee potential changes in tax laws.

In the latest survey, Singapore's tax policies were also seen as having a high level of predictability and one of the least complex.

"The survey reinforces the point that Singapore is one of the easiest countries to do business in, with our tax policy being viewed as one of the most consistent, most predictable and least complex in Asia Pacific," said Deloitte Singapore & Southeast Asia's tax services leader Low Hwee Chua.

But she warned that this balance could be difficult to maintain in the light of various initiatives that could soon be introduced to address tax base erosion and to improve tax transparency.

Deloitte's survey, which highlights key tax trends facing businesses in the Asia-Pacific, polled more than 800 finance and tax professionals in 20 jurisdictions across the region.

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