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Relocation Package Review

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Fri, 19 Sep 2014 9:33 am

zzm9980 wrote:I have no problem with a religious school (I went to a Catholic school myself), but was a bit skeptical based on how thick they lay it on with "We teach the BIBLE"


Do they teach pupils about other religions, one would have thought the others might have more relevance to living in SG?

p.s. I'm opposed to religious schooling. My best friend as a child/teenager went to a 'top Catholic school' and it pretty much destroyed him. The teachers were monks, and mention of their indulging in extra-curricular buggering of his fellow pupils was par for the course.

I don't have a problem with children being taught about religion if it covers all the bases, and is part of a rounded education. But inflicting zealotry on children cannot be a healthy thing. If my friend, who took up heroine big time were still alive, I expect he would agree.

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Postby Dert42 » Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:22 am

Random thoughts:

Coming from Missouri USA.
Taxes were MUCH lower for us then anticipated.

If your company is covering housing, are they covering deposits and agent fees?
Schoolwise I think you said they'd cover application fees, facility fees etc. That's important cause they are really high.

We get around just fine by public transportation/cabs. $350 is overkill, but we take only a handful of cabs a month. Kid's school bus is way to expensive. and is something like $800 a semester. So maybe look into that, and it may range in price how far from the school you live.

Your other estimates seem pretty good.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:05 pm

JR8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:I have no problem with a religious school (I went to a Catholic school myself), but was a bit skeptical based on how thick they lay it on with "We teach the BIBLE"


Do they teach pupils about other religions, one would have thought the others might have more relevance to living in SG?

p.s. I'm opposed to religious schooling. My best friend as a child/teenager went to a 'top Catholic school' and it pretty much destroyed him. The teachers were monks, and mention of their indulging in extra-curricular buggering of his fellow pupils was par for the course.

I don't have a problem with children being taught about religion if it covers all the bases, and is part of a rounded education. But inflicting zealotry on children cannot be a healthy thing. If my friend, who took up heroine big time were still alive, I expect he would agree.


I was slapped a few times in the face by a nun when I was 9yr old. I kind of laughed through it because she looked like an oompa-loompa (willy wonka) I'm young enough that this was not acceptable I guess and vaguely recall a number of meetings between the principle and my parents mostly initiated by the school trying to head off a lawsuit. I got straight As that year. Wish I would have been older in a grade it mattered.

I remember what I did do, and deserved to be slapped. :twisted:

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Postby CAtoSing » Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:46 pm

Thanks everyone for all the comments! Much appreciated. Sounds like I need to adjust a few things, but overall I'm not too far off.

Thanks PNGMK for the tip about leasing a car -- I had not considered that. Although I don't think we'll be getting one, it's nice to know that option is available if we need to tap into it from time to time. Anyone have any recommendations of a good/affordable company, or just stick with the usual suspects (Hertz, Avis, etc.)?

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Postby PNGMK » Sat, 20 Sep 2014 9:03 am

JR8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:I have no problem with a religious school (I went to a Catholic school myself), but was a bit skeptical based on how thick they lay it on with "We teach the BIBLE"


Do they teach pupils about other religions, one would have thought the others might have more relevance to living in SG?

p.s. I'm opposed to religious schooling. My best friend as a child/teenager went to a 'top Catholic school' and it pretty much destroyed him. The teachers were monks, and mention of their indulging in extra-curricular buggering of his fellow pupils was par for the course.

I don't have a problem with children being taught about religion if it covers all the bases, and is part of a rounded education. But inflicting zealotry on children cannot be a healthy thing. If my friend, who took up heroine big time were still alive, I expect he would agree.


They have a world view class where this is covered.

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Postby Tanuki » Sat, 20 Sep 2014 9:55 am

zzm9980 wrote:Yes, your gross salary, housing allowance, school allowance, health insurance allowance, and relocation bonus will all be taxed as income by both Singapore and the US.

There is no double taxation treaty. That said, you can get tax credits for the US on what you pay in Singapore (not much, at your total income it'll be less than you pay to just CA for state tax). There is also an *earned* income exemption. Earned is keyword, as it only applies to money on your paycheck. Any kind of stocks granted and such do not count. This amount changes every year, but is somewhere around $100k USD now. You will not pay income tax on this in the US. It's an exclusion, not a deduction, so every dollar above this amount (and everything that is *not* earned such as stock) will be taxed at the full amount. So the ~$20k over that amount will pay tax at the full income tax bracket, not as if you only made $20k. You'll get Singapore tax credits on the taxs you pay on that $20k only.


I'd suggest you get professional assistance for the tax preparations, especially since you have been overseas before. Mine just got completed for 2013 and it was (to me) quite complex. There are a lot of factors concerning the move itself, the number of days in the US and Singapore, and the money that your company pays. Does the company also pay the offset to cover your taxes on those? My company did when I was an expat in Japan, but here I'm a local hire so I didn't get all that. So the move cost me about $4700 US in taxes that was not expected. Yuk. However, the salary for 4 months here netted me a total Singapore tax bill of SGD 344. I can live with that!

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 20 Sep 2014 10:49 am

Tax Preparation is a useful extra to have included in a package.

- I can see it would help where you have dual reporting (US).
- It also helps where you have 'split year treatment'. I.e. In your year of arrival you're liable for tax 'back home', but also in Singapore.
- Even more so if do a transfer between non-home countries, example: you're British, hold taxable assets (you're a landlord/or you rent out your home whilst expatted), transfer to Japan, maybe for a couple of years, then transfer on to Singapore. In your year of arrival in SG that would be three separate tax returns!

I was in the latter shoes, and there's no way I could have adequately interpreted the JP and SG tax codes and filed accurately.

I had another iteration where I was still a UK landlord, and had to file back home/UK, but I was working in the US so had to do state and federal returns too*. Another three returns.

There's simply no way I could have managed such myself. And having to DIY it, or try and find an international accountant to personally instruct would have been onerous and a distraction from the job.

The solution was pretty simple. The company retained the services of their external auditors (D+T, or E+Y) to do all and any tax reporting required by their expat staff. So I visited say the SG branch of D+T, had a meeting with their specialist expat personal accountants, gave them all the base data and they coordinated all the prep and filing via their respective international offices. As simple as that.

A huge weight off my mind, and as I recall the cost to my employer was pretty minimal, as the work was regarded as incremental to their main work as auditors, and perhaps regarded as a service that was offered as something of a goodwill task.


* There are things in international tax codes you might find surprising. In the US for example, IIRC, you depreciate the value of the fabric of a property over 40 years. Quaint! Especially as my property was all about 120+ years old :) But they have ways of splitting the value of the building's fabric from the land it sits on. It gets complicated!

-- Another potential trap. In SG you pay tax at the end of the year. It would help greatly to have an estimate of what your future liability might be well before it comes liable.

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Postby PNGMK » Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:42 pm

CAtoSing wrote:Thanks everyone for all the comments! Much appreciated. Sounds like I need to adjust a few things, but overall I'm not too far off.

Thanks PNGMK for the tip about leasing a car -- I had not considered that. Although I don't think we'll be getting one, it's nice to know that option is available if we need to tap into it from time to time. Anyone have any recommendations of a good/affordable company, or just stick with the usual suspects (Hertz, Avis, etc.)?


I'd go for a local company - plenty around and much cheaper.

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Postby CAtoSing » Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:01 pm

Yes, I’ll definitely get professional help for the taxes. I’ve been doing my own for years now without problem, as ours its very simple: single income, from single company, no property/rental, etc. BUT, I don’t want to take any chances after moving…

For reference, we will move towards the end of December (yeah, I know, not the best time, but not much choice for us). We are in the process of opening up a Branch Office with the help of a well-recommended firm in Singapore. Once that’s done, we’ll apply for my EP, and then DP for wife and our boys. When does the clock start ticking for Singapore tax residence status? Is it when I get the EP or when I am physically in the country? Does it make any difference if I move before Jan 1 vs. after Jan 1?

My company’s HQ is in Norway. I am officially employed by our US-based subsidiary. Our plan is for me to be employed by the Singapore branch office once that’s registered and I’m in-country. Any one see any pitfalls with this arrangement? Any benefit of doing any other way?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:58 pm

Personally, I'd do some math and get out the crystal ball. For me, I want my contracts through a local registered company and quoted in Singapore Dollars. That way, when the US dollar takes a tumble against the always rising Singapore Dollar you are protected here AND your dollars will go further when on a trip home as well

When I first came here the US dollar fetched 2.28SGD. Today it's around 1.25 to the Sgd Dollar and it's been at a low of 1.15 to the Sgd Dollar in recent history. Singapore has been trying to keep the SGD down, but it seems to be a losing battle

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Postby ras5 » Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:16 pm

The post is quite helpful! Thank You!

We are relocating from Greater New York to Singapore in couple of months. The company agreed to pay 10K on actuals towards - moving & airfare expenses for 4 of us. No other allowances, just 10K. I am not sure whether to use Movers or sell everything here and leave just with our bags.

If the moving cost is not so exuberant, it would be nice to take children's toys, clothes, essential kitchen items and some personal stuff. I am planning not to take any furnitures or any big awkward items. Wondering how much will it cost to move? Any thoughts?

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Postby CAtoSing » Thu, 02 Oct 2014 2:14 am

Ras5

For reference, we're a family of two adults and two children (ages 6 and 9). Our place now is ~1050 sq ft plus garage. We don't have complicated furniture: beds, dinning room table (6 seater), sofa, big chair, couple of small bureaus, couple of small bookcases, one work desks. Rest is clothes, linen, kitchen stuff (no appliances at all), and other misc stuff. Our relocation will be minimum 3 years.

I got two estimates for door-to-door move from reputable companies. Both came out to about USD 7-8K for about 5000 lbs worth of stuff in a 20 foot container. In my opinion they are overestimating the weight, especially as we will not take all the clothes, linen, and most stuff in the garage. But, they are the professionals and not me. Also, we will make a big trip to Costco and stuff the container with non-perishable things we like here: good quality paper towels, shampoo, soap, cleaning items (as long as they are not prohibited--check customs lists), other toiletries, etc. Not expecting these to last 3 years, but having some "home" stuff should help ease the initial cultural shock or at least until we find our bearings for local shopping. So perhaps we'll indeed end up at USD 7-8K.

Search the forum and you'll find lots of other references. Biggest expenses are school, housing and healthcare.

Hope this helps.

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 02 Oct 2014 3:59 am

CAtoSing wrote:Ras5

For reference, we're a family of two adults and two children (ages 6 and 9). Our place now is ~1050 sq ft plus garage. We don't have complicated furniture: beds, dinning room table (6 seater), sofa, big chair, couple of small bureaus, couple of small bookcases, one work desks. Rest is clothes, linen, kitchen stuff (no appliances at all), and other misc stuff. Our relocation will be minimum 3 years.

I got two estimates for door-to-door move from reputable companies. Both came out to about USD 7-8K for about 5000 lbs worth of stuff in a 20 foot container. In my opinion they are overestimating the weight, especially as we will not take all the clothes, linen, and most stuff in the garage. But, they are the professionals and not me. Also, we will make a big trip to Costco and stuff the container with non-perishable things we like here: good quality paper towels, shampoo, soap, cleaning items (as long as they are not prohibited--check customs lists), other toiletries, etc. Not expecting these to last 3 years, but having some "home" stuff should help ease the initial cultural shock or at least until we find our bearings for local shopping. So perhaps we'll indeed end up at USD 7-8K.

Search the forum and you'll find lots of other references. Biggest expenses are school, housing and healthcare.

Hope this helps.


Very wise on the Costco trip. Stock up especially on your favorite deodorants and laundry detergent. These won't exist in the brands you like in SG. If you use disposable razors (Gillette, Schick, etc) those too as they cost more than twice as much.

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Re: Relocation Package Review

Postby CAtoSing » Thu, 25 Dec 2014 8:33 am

Hi All

Just a quick update to this. I hired a tax firm (recommended in the forum) and had then run a few scenarios and actually calculate my expected taxes (SG + US). Turns out that I was quite low on my estimate of the taxes due. As pointed out by others already, all the benefits (school, housing, etc.) gets added to my income and taxed, so with the numbers I originally proposed, annual taxes (US + SG) come up to about USD 32K! Not a whole lot I can do about it, but sure has helped me to plan things better and negotiate an improvement in the package.

As I'm not starting until after Jan 1, 2015, my 2014 taxes will still be 100%. So perhaps next year I'll post an update after having gone through the actual filing.

Thanks again everyone for the help.

Merry Christmas

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Re: Relocation Package Review

Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 25 Dec 2014 9:42 am

CAtoSing wrote:Hi All

Just a quick update to this. I hired a tax firm (recommended in the forum) and had then run a few scenarios and actually calculate my expected taxes (SG + US). Turns out that I was quite low on my estimate of the taxes due. As pointed out by others already, all the benefits (school, housing, etc.) gets added to my income and taxed, so with the numbers I originally proposed, annual taxes (US + SG) come up to about USD 32K! Not a whole lot I can do about it, but sure has helped me to plan things better and negotiate an improvement in the package.

As I'm not starting until after Jan 1, 2015, my 2014 taxes will still be 100%. So perhaps next year I'll post an update after having gone through the actual filing.

Thanks again everyone for the help.

Merry Christmas


Quite the kick in the balls, eh?


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