STEPPING UP - ISSUE 23 (31 December 2013)
It has been an eventful 2013 for STEP (Singapore).
The STEP Asia Conference held on the 13 and 14 November closed on a high note. We received positive feedback from delegates with regards to the conference content. It was also a great opportunity to network with professionals from around the world. Many particularly enjoyed the regional content of the conference and found it refreshing. We welcome feedback so that we can make the next conference better.
At the Branch Committee, we have two of committee members leaving the Branch. Alexis Medina, our Treasurer, is returning back home to Panama while Mark Smallwood has relocated to Hong Kong. They had served the Branch very well with their dedication and diligence. They have been valued members on the Committee and will be missed. I would like to thank both of them for their contributions and wish them well for the future.
When I look back on the lunch seminars the Branch organised this year, I must say the success of the seminars was due to support from members. Your attendance at our seminars and events was a great encouragement to me. I am grateful for such support as I strive to serve you better. Looking into 2014, there are areas of law (for example taxation, mental capacity and arbitration) and trust practice that we could all benefit from continuing education in. STEP’s global network is an excellent platform for us to leverage on in getting good resources and presenting these to you.
In the meantime, I just want to let my hair down and enjoy my vacation. May I wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful, healthy and happy 2014. See you next year.
Goh Seow Chee
Chairperson, STEP Singapore Branch
Invitation for Expressions of Interest in Forming SIG on ADR Following the launch on the first Special Interest Group (SIG) on Business Families on 30 September 2013, the STEP Committee is considering whether it is feasible to have a second SIG, on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The proposed SIG on ADR aims to promote the understanding of alternative means of dispute resolution for trust and tax disputes. This intended scope is to provide a forum for members to discuss, promote and participate in the development of ADR pathways especially mediation and arbitration as alternatives to traditional court litigation. Mr. S Sharma, Committee Member, an advocate & solicitor and panel mediator and arbitrator, will spearhead the formation of this SIG if there is sufficient interest from members.
Members who are interested in being part of the proposed SIG on ADR are invited to contact the Secretariat by 30 January 2014 and register their interest in this SIG. Interested members are also requested to provide a short biography and their contact particulars when doing so.
INDUSTRY NEWS & UPDATES:
UPDATES & DEVELOPMENTS:
Following the G20 Finance Ministers' endorsement in April this year of automatic exchange of information as the expected new standard for tax purposes, the OECD presented a new report titled A Step Change in Tax Transparency to G8 leaders at the Lough Erne Summit in Ireland in June this year. Automatic exchange of information (AEOI) was agreed upon as the new international standard for pursuing tax evasion globally, for developed and developing countries.
STEP (Singapore) is pleased to host its 3rd Chinese New Year luncheon-cum-networking event over a 3-course set lunch and“Prosperity Lo Hei”. This is a chance to network with fellow STEP members and industry practitioners.
Post Event Update: The French Tax Legislation Applicable to Trusts and General French Tax Update (17 October 2013, 12.00-2.00pm)We are cognizant of the fact that families with family members who are US persons need to plan for their wealth transfer. Foreign grantor trust planning is a typical structure one would use. The speakers spoke about some of nuisances of drafting a foreign grantor trust and way to improvement the language of the trust agreement. The focus of the talk was on the phase post grantor’s demise. Speakers gave a good insight into issuesa foreign grantor trust (if it chooses to stay outside US) needs to observe in recording of income and gains, taxation of the US beneficiary and filing requirements.
The seminar on new French tax legislation applicable to trusts and general French tax update was well attended by about 50 interested members and non-members.
Frederic Mege, Partner of Lawrence Graham LLP examined the new tax legislation that came into force on 31 July 2011, which he highlighted gave rise to many uncertainties that subsequent guidelines on 16 October 2012 did not altogether clarify. The initial issue of identifying the "owner" of trust assets was considered, before looking at wealth tax, inheritance tax and trustees' filing obligations. Each of these 3 areas had their own peculiarities.
In the second part, Frederic dealt with the new taper relief in the French capital gains tax (CGT) regime, which came into force on 1 September 2013. An interesting point he mentioned was a further reduction of 25% in CGT which applied to sales of assets occurring between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014. Frederic also went through a few examples to show how the new provisions applied.
The seminar ended well with some questions for Frederic during the Q&A session, which were answered quite nicely.
Contributed by S. Sharma - ATMD Bird & Bird LLPA Recap of the Events Held by STEP (Singapore) in 2013
|Date & Time||Event Title||Venue|
|17 October 2013/ 12-2pm||The French Legislation Applicable to Trusts and General French Tax Update||Intellioffices, Level 3, 146 Robinson Road|
|10 October 2013/ 12-2pm||Update on Canadian Tax Legislation and International Tax Planning in Singapore||Intellioffices, Level 3, 146 Robinson Road|
|27 August 2013/ 12-2pm||Changes to VISTA and Other Trust Laws in the BVI||FTSE Room, Capital Tower Singapore|
|1 August 2013/ 12-2pm||Foreign Trusts: Problems and Solutions for Trustees and US Beneficiaries||Level 10, M Hotel Singapore|
|26 June 2013/ 11.30-2pm||Evaluating the Current MAS Initiative on Designation of Tax Crimes as Money Laundering Predicate Offences in Singapore||SGX Auditorium, SGX Centre 1, 2 Shenton Way Singapore 068804|
|19 February 2013/ 12-2pm||An “East-Meets-West” Chinese New Year “Lo Hei” Lunch||Chef d’Table, Chijmes|
|31 January 2013/ 4.30-7pm||“Calling the Bluff”: Secrets in the Art of Negotiation||FTSE Room, Level 9, Capital Tower|
|8 January 2013/ 12-2pm||High Value Residential Property: New Strategies for the New Environment||Room 903, Level 9, NTUC Centre|