Posted April 02, 2020 12:04:52 Singapore is considering a controversial plan to repatriate expatriate tax filers from Hong Kong and Macau, a move that would be the biggest tax overhaul in the country’s history.
The move is likely to spark anger among the wealthy expatriating Chinese who have been living in Singapore for decades.
They say they will take their case to court.
The plan has been under discussion since May, and the Finance Ministry said on Monday it is reviewing the proposal.
Singapore has been on high alert since China imposed its first round of “anti-terror” measures last week, including the arrest of a senior Chinese government official suspected of being behind a series of computer attacks on Chinese websites.
The Finance Ministry had previously been considering whether to allow Chinese residents to bring their business and personal assets to the city, and in May, it gave the green light to such a move.
However, the Finance Department said the decision on Monday would be based on Singapore’s national security concerns.
“The Finance Department will consider the merits of such a plan based on the national security situation, and on the interests of Singaporeans and their businesses,” the department said in a statement.
It added that the Finance department was in the process of discussing with the Government on whether it should approve the plan or reject it.
This is the first time in Singapore’s history that the country has asked the government to approve a repatriation tax scheme.
Some business owners say they have been told the plan is unlikely to succeed and will only cause problems for their businesses.
Hong Kong resident Wang Jingping said it was unfair to send the business of Hong Kong residents back to Hong Kong.
“It’s too early to decide, but we are still waiting for a decision from the Finance Minister,” he told The Straits Times.
“I think they should consider a change of course.
This is a good idea, but there are other ways to bring people back to their home country.”
Macau resident Lee Weiying, who has a Hong Kong-based IT company, said his company would not be able to comply with the plan if Singapore was not to agree to it.
“The expatriated business owners are going to be a big hit, they will lose their jobs and their company,” he said.
He said the government had failed to respond adequately to his company’s request for a repatriated tax rate increase, and that it would be unfair to take them away from their families.
Other business owners have voiced similar concerns.
“If it is to be approved, it will create a huge headache for our companies,” said Lee.
On Sunday, Hong Kong businesses in the city also held protests, demanding that Singapore adopt the plan.
As of Tuesday morning, about 200,000 Hong Kong companies had signed a petition to urge the government not to approve the repatriation plan, with about 100,000 people signing it.