Local Professional Services in Singapore

A Hot Tip about Taxes and Accounting in Singapore

Posted on: 23 Feb 2010

Legal Services: As of November 2008, 17 of the 86 foreign law firms in Singapore were from the United States. In December 2008, Singapore granted Qualifying Foreign Law Practice licenses to six foreign law firms (including two U.S. firms) to practice Singapore law, although restrictions remain in certain areas, including conveyancing, criminal law, family law and domestic litigation. Foreign law firms can otherwise provide legal services in relation to Singapore law only through a Joint Law Venture (JLV) or Formal Law Alliance (FLA) with a Singapore law firm, subject to the Guidelines for Registration of Foreign Lawyers in Joint Law Ventures to Practice Singapore Law. Singapore relaxed some of these guidelines for U.S. law firms under the FTA. Since July 2007, foreign attorneys have been allowed to own equity in Joint Law Ventures up to a maximum of 25 percent of total shares. Currently, there is one U.S. Joint Law Venture and one U.S.


Formal Law Alliance. U.S. and foreign attorneys are allowed to represent parties in arbitration without the need for a Singapore attorney to be present.


Accounting and Tax Services: The major international accounting firms operate in Singapore. Public accountants and at least one partner of a public accounting firm must reside in Singapore. Only public accountants who are members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore and registered with the Public Accountants Board may practice in Singapore. The Board recognizes U.S. accountants registered with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


Engineering and Architectural Services: Engineering and architectural firms can be 100-percent foreign-owned. In line with FTA provisions, and also applicable to all foreign firms, Singapore has removed the requirement that the chairman and two-thirds of a firm's board of directors be engineers, architects or land surveyors registered with local professional bodies.


When a professional engineer, resident or foreign, desires to engage in professional engineering work in Singapore, he/she should apply for a certificate authorizing them to engage in professional engineering work.


Under the Architect Act, no person shall draw or prepare any architectural plan and design intended to govern the construction of any building in Singapore unless the person is a registered architect who has a valid practicing certificate issued by the Board of Architects



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Posted: 23 February 2010

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