Following the announcement of the UK Budget, a tax loophole that had once allowed real estate investors to avoid paying stamp duty when buying UK properties has finally been sealed. As per the Daily Mail article, stamp duty of 15% has been imposed on properties costing over GBP 2 million that real-estate investors have been eyeing to buy through offshore companies which formerly allowed buyers to avoid the stamp duty.
Furthermore, UK’s tax body, the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), has introduced new penalties to tackle offshore tax evasion. Tax evaders that are caught by the HMRC would now be subjected to a penalty rate that ranges between 1.5 times to 2 times the amount of tax evaded, depending on the country where the income was derived.
At the recent Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition held in Shanghai, China’s aviation industry expects its business jet market to grow with the rise in ultra-high net worth individuals. There is an estimated 63,500 individuals that hold assets of more than 100 million yuan ($15.8 million) in China, an increase of 10% from 2011. China company incorporation via a China WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) is a viable option for foreign entrepreneurs wanting to operate their business in China.
Following Swiss banking industry investigations carried out by U.S., a wealthy U.S. businessman has filed a civil suit in Santa Ana, California against prominent Swiss bank, UBS, over the legitimacy of its private banking services that “allows” clients to evade paying taxes. More “false representation” cases against Swiss banks could also be hot on the heels of these offshore banks by clients seeking to get their huge tax bills back.
Over in Singapore, local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are being equipped with a larger war chest to cope with rising business costs. Additional funding of S$200 million has been added by SPRING Singapore to support the set up and operation of Singapore companies through its capability development programs that cover areas such as human capital development, service quality, technology adoption and other skills set areas.
In Thailand, recent amendments to the Foreign Business Act (FBA) have made it easier for company incorporation in Thailand. Some of these changes include allowing newly registered foreign companies in Thailand have only 3 shareholders, down from 7. The new FBA also allows foreign companies seeking work permits to have only 1 Thai national under their payroll as compared to 4 in the past. These changes would ultimately attract more investors and companies to Thailand to stimulate its economy, which is important since the country was badly hit by floods in 2011.