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Is any of this true....

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IceWharf
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Is any of this true....

Postby IceWharf » Tue, 08 May 2007 12:54 pm

Hi All,
I'm on the verge of accepting a great job there in Singapore (in Australia right now) and very much looking forward to getting there.
In my research on Singapore I've come across two apparent 'facts' that as far as I can see will have a massive impact on the local job market there in Singapore....
1) US tax law is changing/has changed so that all US expats will be taxed in the US on their Singapore (or any other country for that matter) earnings.
2) Singapore tax law is changing/has changed so that employees are taxed on ALL their benefits from their 'expat' deals (eg. flat, schooling, maid etc).

Now both of these seem to be big news to me and if they are true they would force big changes in Singapore. Like 1) most of the US citizens would leave and 2) people could no longer afford $15,000 a month condo's when they have to pay tax on that benefit.

Any thoughts?

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Postby huggybear » Tue, 08 May 2007 3:22 pm

1. No.
2. No.

Addendum: Singapore is cutting taxes and trying to grow the population from 4 mio to 6 mio.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 08 May 2007 3:37 pm

The US has always taxed foreign income. There is a USD 82,500 exclusion on earned income. Foreign income tax paid is deductable above 82,500. Law recently changed to greatly reduce in kind benefits such as housing allowances.

Singapore has tightened up the rules for in kind benefits. They are taxable but I do not know how much and it depends on how the benefit is treated by the company paying. Still a great tax situation compared to most places.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 08 May 2007 3:40 pm

Are you sure this isn't a Friday Windup on Tuesday?

If somebody has the kind of wherewithall to drawn a $15,000 housing allowance he doesn't have a clue on US tax laws, who is fooling whom?

c'mon folks, you can do better than that!

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/int ... 24,00.html

Read to your hearts content.

Yes, there are some tax changes that will send a number of taxpayers scurrying for home but those changes are a year old. Where have you been? Oh, the US has always taxed US Citizens on their world wide income. Of course if it's earned income then it's still elgible for the income earned abroad exclusion which is slightly more than USD 84K at the moment. The excess however is taxable at the same rate that it would have been taxed at if not exclusion were given. this is the cruncher as well as the limitations on the housing allowances. Frankly, If I had a Job that paid benefits like a 15K housing allowance, I believe I would have the common sense to hire a tax accountant to do my tax planning.

I've been here for 25 years! Singapore has always taxed on the benefits in your package. Nothing new there either. However, as Huggy mentioned, Singapore is constantly reducing their tax rates both corporate and individual in an attempt to draw companies to Singapore.

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Postby IceWharf » Wed, 09 May 2007 7:24 am

Ok, so $15,000 was a bad example and maybe that's just for those CEO's, but I'm still amazed that you don't have to look far to be paying $8000+ for a 2br flat! The company looking to employ me keeps saying "there's no longer such a thing as an expat package, no company pays for flats/maids/cars in Singapore anymore". Maybe I'm being sold a line here.

Also, as an Australian I have zero knowledge on US tax law. I just thought it was an interesting comment from my one and only contact in Singapore.

I shall now look for a more reliable source of gossip.

And I look forward to 'Friday Windup'.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 09 May 2007 9:53 am

IceWharf wrote:Ok, so $15,000 was a bad example and maybe that's just for those CEO's, but I'm still amazed that you don't have to look far to be paying $8000+ for a 2br flat! The company looking to employ me keeps saying "there's no longer such a thing as an expat package, no company pays for flats/maids/cars in Singapore anymore". Maybe I'm being sold a line here.

Also, as an Australian I have zero knowledge on US tax law. I just thought it was an interesting comment from my one and only contact in Singapore.

I shall now look for a more reliable source of gossip.

And I look forward to 'Friday Windup'.


It is very true that fewer and fewer companies are offering expat packages for Singapore. This is not exactly hardship living and there are many people happy to come here on a local package. In addition, local skills continue to improve meaning that the same resources can be found here without the expat package.

Only if you are on an executive fast track that requires "internationalization" or you have very specialized skills that make your presence in Singapore mandatory, will you find expat packages being offered.

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Postby IceWharf » Wed, 09 May 2007 10:14 am

Thanks for that Strong Eagle.
Can I assume that a local package of $S130k + bonus would not cause too much hardship (after paying for silly rent)?

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Postby huggybear » Wed, 09 May 2007 10:38 am

depends on your spending habits.

if you spend $15k / month to get a shophouse in orchard and then go out to morton's to eat everynight and then every night go to clarke quay and buy all your friends bottles of liquor (me, SMS, and SE)...then no, it's not enough.

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Postby IceWharf » Wed, 09 May 2007 10:48 am

True.
But...
- got twins babies so there's none of this going out and enjoying myself stuff (wife would kill me).
- 3 br in a condo on the East Coast for (maybe) $S3000.
- No driving.

Should manage.

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Postby huggybear » Wed, 09 May 2007 11:41 am

i'm assuming your wife isn't working.

you'll be fine mate. lots of people here raise families on A LOT less. if you surf around these boards....i think the average local pulls in 3k / month. i don't know a single person that lives in a 15,000 condo and expat packages are disappearing.

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Postby IceWharf » Wed, 09 May 2007 12:36 pm

Can't understand why the rental prices are going up not down.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 09 May 2007 1:36 pm

IceWharf wrote:Can't understand why the rental prices are going up not down.


They are going back up to where they used to be because the number of expats is on the increase.

With the financial crash in 97/98 and the second crash in 2001 I have heard that as many as 70 percent of the expats here were repatriated by their companies. Housing prices tanked. They stayed flat for a while, now have been on the climb for the last year.

S$130K is about S$11,000 per month. You can find housing for less but if you want to maintain something of your current lifestyle you'll need to spend $5,000 for housing.

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Postby bigfilsing » Wed, 09 May 2007 2:17 pm

IceWharf wrote:Can't understand why the rental prices are going up not down.

Neither can a lot of people here !!! The housing market here has many factors which effect it ( much like other places0 but because it is so small and people are so well informed it tends to be a bit more "trend" driven and volatile.

As for the expat package thing. It used to refer to salary, housing, schooling for kids, medical, home leave ( at least 1 flight a year) membership for club of choice ( sports/family/social club) car or transport (taxi) allowance etc etc. up until about '95 . The whole concept of hardship posting ( being away from family and freinds in a hot nasty place with crap facilitys and food) has long since gone.
As far as i'm concerned any expat on a local contract needs their heads looking at. But with an acceptable wage and likewise adequate housing allowance you should be fine. Make sure your leave allowance is OK. Check you're not expected to work Saturdays. Dont take anything for granted !!!!!!!! check and double check your contract!!!!
All the great things about Singapore await you. Cheap taxi's, great weather etc etc.

Good luck

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Postby micknlea » Thu, 10 May 2007 2:42 pm

OK guys it may be phasing out, but there are still plenty of expats on packages in Singapore! Don't let anyone tell you it has all gone completely. Some may have basic packages, eg housing and medical insurance, others have housing allowance, schools, medical insurance and home leave, and others still have all the full range of perks.

Not sure where in Australia you are coming from, if Sydney, then cost of living is pretty similar, other states it may be a bit pricier here. As previous poster said, check and re check your contract for things like 6 day weeks etc, ask questions about working hours, days etc, oh and how many days of leave you will get. Try to get the equivalent to back home, that is not standard here.

Once you'v done that move over and join the fun.
"My husband said it was him or the cat...I miss him sometimes." - Unknown

IceWharf
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Postby IceWharf » Thu, 10 May 2007 3:07 pm

Yet to confirm but this is the deal (UK bank)...
- $S130k
- Bonus
- Flights, 20ft container & $S15k for moving expenses.
- Medical cover for whole family
- 24 days off a year with a manditory 10 day block.
- 8 or 9 hour day
- no weekends
- weekend on-call once every 6 weeks.
- No housing allowance.


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