THE prospect of a lower corporate tax rate would not be enough to convince Singapore bosses that they should relocate their operations overseas, a new survey shows.

It found that 66 per cent of firms polled in Singapore said they would stay put, regardless of the tax reduction they would enjoy if they moved to offshore locations.

That is just a touch lower than the global average of 67 per cent, according to the report by Grant Thornton International, an assurance, tax and advisory firm.

"Given our Government's friendly corporate tax regime, it is no surprise that findings here revealed a low dissatisfaction," said Ms Michelle Seat, tax director of Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton in Singapore.

"The recent Budget announcement of a corporate tax rebate of 30 per cent for the next three years is an added bonus to our home-grown (small- and medium-sized enterprises)."

Business leaders in New Zealand proved the most resistant, with 94 per cent saying no to tax-related relocations.

Georgia was next with 92 per cent and Switzerland, with 90 per cent, according to the annual report, which gathered feedback from more than 3,400 businesses in 44 economies.

Said Ms Seat: "What matters to most corporate firms that operate internationally is how they can manage their effective tax rates.

" A lower corporate tax in one place isn't always enough of a push or pull factor. However, a combination of factors can make the difference to stay or go."

The survey also found that 68 per cent of business leaders globally favoured lowering the corporate tax rate in their countries, even if it meant getting rid of some tax deductions.

Companies in Vietnam were most supportive of this proposal, with 94 per cent backing it, followed by companies in Lithuania and Malaysia, both with 92 per cent, and Singapore a few ranks lower with 86 per cent.

Ms Seat said that tax breaks are often hard to remove once they are in place, especially in economies that are struggling to find growth and use such breaks to stimulate certain industries.