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Tax & cost of living info

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CathyH

Tax & cost of living info

Postby CathyH » Mon, 09 May 2005 9:17 pm

:? Partner has applied for a job in Singapore. If successful, we'd move from UK to Singapore, so I have losts of questions! The job would be permanent, not a "posting". Does anyone know whether this would make us resident or non-resident for tax purposes? Also, would we pay tax on income? Does the rate depend on income or is there a standard rate for ex-pats?

Any info on general cost of living would be most helpful. His job would be on Alexandra Technopark; is there housing there? It seems to be a pretty central location - perhaps it would be cheaper to live further out? Any vague ideas on roughly how much a 2-bedroom apartment costs would be much appreciated. For general info, is it cheap to eat out? How much (say) is an average dinner out? What does a bottle of wine or gin cost? (Need to work out the essential spending!!)

He is a very, very keen golfer - is it expensive to join a golf club? Which courses might be nearest to Alexandra Technopark (or are they all a long way away?) I can't work this out from on-line maps!

We are likely to have to choose between re-locating to Johannesburg or Singapore and are trying to weigh up safety (big issue with Jo'burg), weather, tax position, cost of housing, amount of living space we could get for our money, cost of eating out etc etc so that we can make the right decision. Any help that anyone can offer would be really appreciated.

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Strong Eagle
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Re: Tax & cost of living info

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 09 May 2005 11:00 pm

CathyH wrote::? Partner has applied for a job in Singapore. If successful, we'd move from UK to Singapore, so I have losts of questions! The job would be permanent, not a "posting". Does anyone know whether this would make us resident or non-resident for tax purposes? Also, would we pay tax on income? Does the rate depend on income or is there a standard rate for ex-pats?


First, I am from the US, not the UK, but from my sense of the UK in my travels I believe you will like the overall economic picture unless you are getting really stiffed on salary.

Since you are here for more than 183 days (I think), you are taxed at the rate that everyone pays, which is about 15 percent. You will be residents for tax purposes. Expats pay the same as everyone else.

Any info on general cost of living would be most helpful. His job would be on Alexandra Technopark; is there housing there? It seems to be a pretty central location - perhaps it would be cheaper to live further out? Any vague ideas on roughly how much a 2-bedroom apartment costs would be much appreciated. For general info, is it cheap to eat out? How much (say) is an average dinner out? What does a bottle of wine or gin cost? (Need to work out the essential spending!!)


If you want to live like the lower income locals you can rent a 3 bedroom unairconditioned HDB flat for about S$1000. You will probably want to spend in the S$2000 to S$4000 range depending upon your level of luxury, and of course you can go much higher. It is cheaper the more you move away from the central business district, and there are exceptions to that rule, particularly for standalone and semi-detached housing.

Dinner runs the gamut from incredibly cheap at a place like Newton Circus (S$3 for a meal) to restaurants that have entres in the $17 to $25 region. Prices are comparable to, or a bit cheaper than, restaurants in Texas.

Booze is more expensive. Plan on S$45 for a fifth bought at the cheapest place in the India quarter, S$65 elsewhere. Wine and beer are correspondingly more expensive. I'd say about a 20 to 30 percent premium over US prices.

He is a very, very keen golfer - is it expensive to join a golf club? Which courses might be nearest to Alexandra Technopark (or are they all a long way away?) I can't work this out from on-line maps!


Yes, memberships and greens fees are quite expensive here, except for a couple of public courses which are only OK. However, the good news is that tons of golfers catch a fast ferry (30 to 50 minutes) to the Indonesian islands of Bintan and Batam where there is excellent cheap golf... world class courses. Your husband will become addicted to these trips. And he can also drive to Malaysia and play cheap golf on good courses... the options are numerous... he will like to golf here.

We are likely to have to choose between re-locating to Johannesburg or Singapore and are trying to weigh up safety (big issue with Jo'burg), weather, tax position, cost of housing, amount of living space we could get for our money, cost of eating out etc etc so that we can make the right decision. Any help that anyone can offer would be really appreciated.


Having been in both places, I can say the following: Joburg is cheaper overall. Joburg local communities are safe (you can walk to schools, shops and restaurants in the area) but overall the city is not... the influx of people from neighboring countries quickly find that there is no work and that crime is the only way to survive. All houses are surrounded by high fences with barb wire and glass, all autos are equipped with dual or triple anti theft systems (if you are stupid enough to leave your car on the street at night), and one must exercise a high level of caution when out and about. Downtown is not a good place to be at all unless you travel in a group of at least four. Entire buildings have been abandoned and the hot spot is Sandison to the north. Having said that, Joburg is quite survivable. However, I like South Africa a lot, and if I had my choice I would not live in Joburg... with the surounding townships, including Soweto, Joburg is the third largest city in Africa.

Singapore is real safe. You really can walk anywhere at just about anytime. There is petty theft but it is low. The weather can be best described as consistent, or... boring... roughly the same temperatures all year around... and in the rainy season it rains somewhat more, in the dry season, somewhat less. I think it is boring, especially if you are used to four seasons... aint gonna happen. You will not like the climate at first... it is very humid here... but it grows on you and the evenings are very pleasant. Singapore is very clean, Joburg much more dirty. Singapore is real small... island fever is common... need to get away to someplace... fortunately, there are about a million places to get away to.

Joburg is a very livable city... all modern amenities, everyone speaks English. So is Singapore. I might do a stint in Joburg so I could see more of Africa, but if you are a first time expat, this is a very livable city. I'm not endorsing either one but Singapore is the safer, more predictable city with a large band of expats.

CathyH

Singapore tax & housing

Postby CathyH » Tue, 10 May 2005 6:01 pm

:D Very many thanks, Strong Eagle - great info. Can anyone confirm the tax info? Also further detail of rental cost of 2-bedroomed apartment or condo with aircon, preferably in some kind of complex with a pool and other facilities, either close to Alexandra Technopark or within a fairly short commuting distance. Many thanks. CathyH.


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