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Philanthropic Giving in Singapore: The Tax Landscape

Our Partner, Kit and Specialist Counsel, Vincent recently published an article in Tax Notes International titled “Philanthropic Giving in Singapore: The Tax Landscape”. The article discusses the excellent infrastructure and tax incentives which Singapore has developed to support philanthropy, discussing the technical details of the applicable tax rules. Notably, Singapore recently enacted a new s 10J that governs appropriations of trading stock for purposes outside the ordinary course of business (which might be seen as somewhat of a codification of the rule in “Sharkey v Wernher“). There are now provisions which apply specifically to donations of trading stock, which should be considered when donations in kind are contemplated.

The article also notes the rise of donor-advised funds in philanthropy in Asia and explains how they can be effectively used to facilitate charitable giving in a tax-efficient manner. The tax consequences of using a DAF for philanthropic structuring are discussed, explaining that it is well possible to receive the tax benefits from charitable donations immediately, even if one has not yet found a worthy cause to donate to.

The article concludes by noting that the Singapore government has indicated that it is currently reviewing its tax incentive schemes in order to make Singapore more attractive. It is likely that part of this review would involve relooking at the current rules on donations channeled to foreign charitable causes, which may be relaxed to some extent moving forward.

We have extensive experience in private wealth and philanthropy, having assisted numerous high (ultra high) -net-worth individuals with establishing their family offices and other ventures in Singapore. Do feel free to reach out to Kit, Teck Chai or Vincent to know more about our Family Offices and Private Wealth practice. The article may be accessed here

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