Guide to Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) in Singapore

Avoidance of Double Tax Agreements (or DTAs) is an agreement designed to eliminate this unfair penalty and encourage cross-border trade, signed between Singapore and a DTA country. By the fact that Singapore’s tax structure is based on the premise that double taxation impedes international business by imposing unfair sanctions on companies engaging in cross-border trade. To prevent such double taxation, Singapore has joined DTAs with a wide network of such countries. Therefore, a resident company in Singapore does not seem to face double taxation.

What is Double Taxation?

Double taxation arises when two or more countries tax on the same taxpayer on the same taxable income or capital. In other words, the same income is being taxed twice – the source country where the income is generated and the country of residence where the income is received. To reduce taxpayers from the double tax burden, countries provide various types of relief under domestic tax laws or under tax treaties that they have signed with other countries.

Purpose of Singapore’s DTAs

According to IRAS, DTAs explains the taxing rights between Singapore and the treaty partner on the various types of income generated from cross-border economic activities between the two jurisdictions. The DTAs also stipulates a tax reduction or exemption for certain types of income. Only Singapore tax residents and treaty partner tax residents can enjoy DTAs’ benefits.
Another goal of the DTA is to define the taxing rights of each country. It seeks to prevent international tax evasion by sanctioning the exchange of information between the tax authorities of the signatory states. Besides, it allows you to request a tax reduction on taxes paid abroad.

Residency requirements in Singapore

To take advantage of Singapore’s DTAs benefits in another country, you must be a resident of Singapore or the other country. A Singapore resident is defined under Section 2 of the Singapore Income Tax Act as:

  • An individual: A person who, during the year before the assessment year, resided in Singapore except for such temporary absences that may be reasonable and not in conflict with his or her request to reside in Singapore, and include an actual presence or performance of a job (other than as a director of a company) in Singapore for 183 days or more in the year preceding the year of evaluation
  • A company or agency of people: A company or agency of people who control and manage their business carried out in Singapore.

Thus, if you or your company fulfills the above residency requirement, you may use the provisions of any Singapore’s DTAs with Singapore as your Resident State. Note that even if a DTA does not exist between Singapore and another country with which you are doing business you can avoid double taxation by taking advantage of Singapore’s Unilateral Tax Credits for Singapore residents.

Relieving Double Taxation in Singapore

The methods of relieving double taxation are given either under a country’s domestic tax laws or under the tax treaty. The available methods in Singapore are as follows:

1. Tax Credit

Ordinary credit: Under this method, the Resident State provides a credit equal to its tax on the income in question. If the tax paid to another country is higher than the tax in the Resident State, the taxpayer would not receive full relief.
Full credit: The full amount of tax paid to another country is available in the form of credit while calculating taxes in the Resident State. If the foreign country charges a higher tax rate that the Resident state, the Resident State gives up some of its tax under this method.

2. Tax Exemption

Double taxation can be avoided when foreign income is exempt from domestic tax. The exemption may be granted on all or part of the foreign income.

  • Full Exemption: The income that has been subject to taxation by the non-Resident State is left out altogether from any calculation of taxes by the Resident State. Therefore, relevant income is not included in determining the progressive tax rate that will be applied to the rest of the income.
  • Exemption with progression: Under this method, the income in question is not taxed by the Residence State but it is taken into account to determine the progressive tax rate that is to be applied to the rest of the income.

3. Reduced Tax Rate

Under this form of relief, income is taxed at a lower rate and applies to the following classes of income: interest, dividends, royalties, and profits from international shipping and air transport.

4. Relief by Deduction

In this case, domestic tax is applied on the foreign income after deducting foreign tax suffered. Singapore does not allow a deduction of foreign income tax. However a deduction is given indirectly as under the remittance basis, Singapore would tax the amount of foreign income received (i.e. net of foreign tax) in Singapore.

5. Tax Sparing Credit

Under a DTA, tax credits are usually only available in the Residence State only if the income has been taxed in the source country. Tax sparing credit is a special form of credit whereby the Residence State agrees to give a credit of the tax which would have been paid in the source country but was not, for example, “spared”, under special laws in that country to promote economic development. Tax Sparing Credits are extremely useful and can reduce the effective tax rate to be lower than that charged by either of the two treaty participants.
The provision for duty-free credit is usually found in DTAs between a developing country with tax incentives to attract foreign investment and a developed country as a capital exporter. The credit is given by the country of exportation of its laws to promote investments.

Tax Relief in Absence of DTA

Singapore residents can avoid double taxation even in the absence of DTA with a particular country. This is since Singapore’s domestic laws have exempted most types of income from foreign sources (including dividend, foreign branch profits, and foreign-sourced service income) received in Singapore on or after June 1, 2003, from taxes if certain conditions are met. In summary, these conditions are:
The highest corporate tax rate (headline tax rate) of foreign countries for which income is received must be at least 15% at the time foreign income is received in Singapore. The foreign income had been subject to tax in the foreign country even though the actual tax rate paid on the income can be different from the headline tax rate.

5 Outstanding reasons to relocate to Singapore as an expatriate in 2020

Singapore is the financial hub of Asia, located in both East and West. In fact, it has consistently been praised as a land of opportunity and a country certainly worth considering relocating as an expatriate. Between the beautiful weather year-round and the openness of Singaporeans to foreigners, along with the low unemployment rate, non-existent corruption (compared to other Asian countries) and attractive tax rates for individuals and businesses. Therefore, for individuals, investors and global businesses, moving to Singapore is an ideal and desirable option. Here are 5 reasons why Singapore is the perfect place for any foreigners who want to live and work abroad.

1. Singapore has a high quality of life in Asia

Singapore is continuing to improve the living standards of its residents with greater connectivity and resource sustainability. Indeed, Singapore has ranked first as the country with the highest quality of life in Asia, with the highest-ranking for personal safety. Following Singapore topped the list were Japan, Hong Kong, and Seoul according to Mercer’s 21st edition of the survey based on 39 factors that included political stability, healthcare, education, crime, recreation, and transport. These not only benefit Singaporeans but also make the city the most attractive destination for foreign talents.

Besides, Singapore has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, with advanced medical facilities and well-trained doctors. However, this comes with a high price and because health care in Singapore is very expensive, highly discouraging foreigners to obtain private health insurance.

2. Singapore provides a pro-business environment for expatriates

Singapore retained its place as the second easiest place to do business on the World Bank Doing Business Report, coming after New Zealand for the third consecutive year. Singapore’s international trade links, attractive tax structures, investor mechanisms, advanced infrastructure, a competitive workforce, and a strong economy make Singapore one of the best in the world to do business.

In addition, Singapore ranked first because of easy contract performance, with Korea ranked second. In terms of ease of tax payment, Singapore has risen one place to eighth since the 2018 survey. Singapore continues to hold the top ten positions in areas that investors are most interested in – protecting protect shareholders’ interests, enforce contracts and maintain a tax-friendly business environment.

Whether running your own business or looking for a job with an existing business, Singapore has a business environment that is a highly educated and motivated workforce, so finding Earning top talent to win is a problem. On top of that, moving your business has an extremely simple process.

Getting a work permit is as easy as filling out the online form and waiting a few days for your decision. Despite a very talented workforce, the population of Singapore has only 5 million people making them aspire to acquire foreign talent, which leads to a high acceptance rate in their work permits and high average wages.

3. Singapore is a safe country

Singapore, with a very low crime rate, remains one of the safest countries in the world. This is largely due to their strict penalties for bribery, drug offenses, cheating partners,… which can lead to years in jail. Traveling Singapore alone at any time of the year is considered safe, regardless of gender – this is also true for the safety of children, this is an attractive quality of Singapore for families.

Singapore has a strong legal system and comes with strict punishment. All individuals in Singapore must obey the laws of Singapore. Moreover, Singapore’s judicial system has been praised as one of the most effective systems in Asia. Anti-corruption laws are strongly imposed, thus allowing investors to conduct business without fear of bureaucracy or instability.

4. Singapore has a low tax rate and an attractive tax structure

Singapore is known worldwide for its attractive tax regime. Investors and entrepreneurs are always drawn to attractive tax rates, tax reduction measures, no capital raising tax policies and a network of Avoidance of Double Tax Agreements (DTAs), among other ideal tax incentives.

Also, Singapore’s personal tax system is very simple compared to most of the world and requires individuals to pay nominal tax rates compared to many other countries.

5. Singapore is a land of happiness lifestyle

In addition to career and business opportunities, Singapore offers multiple options for recreation and leisure. It is a multicultural mecca bustling with art festivals, theatre fares, sports attractions, tourist destinations and a range of interesting activities for residents and visitors alike.

Singapore’s geographic location is another asset. The city is ideally located between Malaysia and Indonesia and close to many other destinations such as Thailand, the Philippines or Cambodia. If you are fond of hiking on volcanos or relaxing on sandy beaches, you can travel to many countries, even when on a budget.

Traveling around by bus or the MRT is both very easy and very affordable, and cabs are another very affordable alternative for those who need to visit more remote locations. The country also serves as a hub for travel throughout Asia, with affordable flights regularly available for flying to Southeast Asia, especially for those who are willing to plan last-minute trips.

Why should open an offshore bank account in Singapore?

Singapore, one of Asia’s financial centers, is a favorite destination not only for tourists but also for business. Everyone from the US to China has flocked to invest in Singapore since the 90s. Here are 4 reasons why a company owner should consider opening an offshore bank account in Singapore for a foreign company (Seychelles, Belize, BVI, etc…)

1. Strong financial background

In the past, many account authorizers didn’t pay much attention to choosing banks to deposit, but now after many incidents related to deposits at unreliable banks, they have considered more and more in choosing banks.
Singapore’s banks and financial systems use cutting-edge technology while there are equally safe countries to invest money, very few can provide easy access from Singapore banks. In many other countries, overseas transactions can take days to process and require a complex series of phone calls and exchanges between the authorizer and the bank.

2. Minimize the risk of currency changes

Singapore is a leading global financial hub for providing leading banking infrastructure to support international business. For example, Singapore does not apply capital controls, so currencies are free to exchange and move in and out of the city-state.
Offshore bank accounts in Singapore provide convenient platforms for a company to keep their money in foreign currency, collect and deposit money to bank accounts around the world.
The Singapore Dollar (SGD) is not the required base currency of a Singapore business bank account. The authorizer could hold multiple currencies in their overseas Singapore account and an obvious way to curb the volatility of their base currency in the market and to ensure their purchasing power.

3. Stable and reliable to keep cash in

Opening offshore bank accounts in countries having stable legal status with low debt levels, transparent government, good infrastructure system will help investors and account authorizers feel secure with the money.
If bank account authorizer’s country is experiencing political turmoil, or there is a worry of instability in the banking system, Singapore is a safe place to store their assets. Singapore’s banking sector is subject to strict regulation, which is especially important if they are investing a substantial amount of their wealth.

4. Unique opportunities to invest

Singapore’s unique position, as a bridge between East and West, gives investment opportunities that they won’t get anywhere.
Firstly, they can find many asset management services, funds, brokers, etc. to manage their money if they want to save time through arbitrary asset management.
Secondly, they will be positioned to take advantage of the markets in Singapore (itself as a strong economy), the United States, Hong Kong / China, and Europe, through a range of advanced trading platforms.

If you would like to open an offshore bank account, contact us for free consultation!

What are benefits of offshore companies?

What is an offshore company?

An offshore company, known as an international business company (IBC) may consider to be a company registered outside a country that an owner is residing. Similar to a domestic company, an offshore company can operate a business, own property, open bank accounts, etc. However, it cannot carry out its business in the country of formation, which means it only conducts its business outside the country of formation. Besides, most entrepreneurs open an offshore company with the aim of optimizing tax because it generally does not have tax obligations in the country where it was formed.

Benefits of setting up an offshore company

Tax optimization

One of the biggest benefits of offshore companies is that they are generally a tax neutral, which means the company is exempt from a corporate tax. In fact, offshore jurisdictions are usually considered to be business-friendly because it is easy to register a company, and it has low corporate tax rates or even tax neutral.

Simplicity of setting up an offshore company

Many entrepreneurs often believe that registering an offshore company is a complex process with many stages and lengths of time. However, the process of offshore company formation in many jurisdictions is a quick and seamless process. In fact, the process only lasts from 1 to 4 weeks. Besides, it is not required to hire employees and conduct business activities in a country in which the offshore company was registered.

A method for the business development

It is no doubt that globalization is being, so it is essential for businesses to expand their business scale to a global scale. The business will be more convenient to do business with both domestic partners/clients and foreign ones thanks to the offshore company.

A better banking infrastructure

If you wish to expand your business internationally, an international bank account will be much more important to your business. In fact, the bank account gives you benefits such as high security and protection, easy management of the account and fast and effective global payment with clients/partners in foreign countries, etc.
Generally, entrepreneurs often choose offshore jurisdictions such as British Virgin Island (BVI), Belize and Seychelles to set up offshore companies, but they are not encouraged to open corporate bank accounts in these countries. ACE Global Accountants will give them a better infrastructure to open an offshore business bank account, which is opening the bank account in Singapore. Although it is more complex and difficult to open the bank account in Singapore for the offshore company, it should be considered to do thanks to many advantages. Especially, Singapore is always being as a leading of the financial center of Asia. Read more about Benefits of opening a bank account in Singapore, click here!

Asset privacy and safety

Forming an offshore company in a jurisdiction means you have a strong layer of protection from future liabilities. In fact, your offshore information including an owner, director(s), shareholder(s), sales or debts is not available to the public. The offshore company will be strictly kept confidential information to ensure the rights of company owners. This is also one of the advantages to consider when you intend to set up an offshore company type.

If you would like to form an offshore company, contact us for free consultation!

A tax-residency status for expatriates in Singapore

It does not matter if a foreigner resides in Singapore to study or work, the first step is always to apply for a visa at the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM). In previous articles, ACE Global Accountants has guided you on how to apply for a visa in Singapore.

Hence, the following article will share the next concern of many foreigners who intend to relocate to Singapore to work and reside in. That is a tax-residency of expatriates working in Singapore.

Tax obligation of expatriates in Singapore

  • You are regarded as a tax resident if your period of stay (inclusive of work) in Singapore is 183 days or more in a calendar year.
  • You are regarded as a non-resident for tax purposes if your period of stay (inclusive of work) in Singapore is less than 183 days in a calendar year.

Do note the number of staying and working days in Singapore includes public holidays and weekends. Temporary absences (vacation in a foreign country) or accidental work-off (business trips abroad) are still counted in the total number of working days to determine the tax residency status.

Tax regulations of expatriates in Singapore

A tax resident in Singapore

Period of stay (inclusive of work) in Singapore

Tax-resident status

Tax liability

At least 183 days in a year

Tax resident for that year

Income taxed at progressive resident rates

At least 183 days for a continuous period over two years

Tax resident for two years

Income taxed at progressive resident rates

At least 183 days for a continuous period over three years

Tax resident for three years

Income taxed at progressive resident rates

As the tax resident, you are required to pay taxes from the following sources of income:

  • All income earned in Singapore;
  • Personal income after deduction of tax exemptions will be taxed at progressive resident rates (whichever results in a higher tax amount); and
  • Income derived from abroad (except for those received through partners in Singapore) brought into Singapore after January 1, 2004, is exempt from tax.

Filling out Form B1 (An income tax return for tax resident) to pay personal income tax.

A non-resident of Singapore for tax purposes

Period of stay (inclusive of work) in Singapore

Tax-resident status

Tax liability

From 62 to 182 days 

No

Income taxed at 15% or progressive resident rates. You are not entitled to tax reliefs. 

Less than 60 days

No

Your short-term employment income is exempt from tax. However, if you are a director of a company or a public entertainer, your income is not exempted from tax. You are not entitled to tax reliefs.

As the non-resident, you are required to pay taxes according to the following income:

  • Total income earned from Singapore;
  • Do not receive tax exemptions;
  • A flat rate of 15% or the progressive resident rates (whichever results in a higher tax amount);
  • Director’s fees or other income like renting or earning from Singapore will be taxed at the rate of 22%; and

Filling in Form M (An income tax return for non-resident of tax purposes in Singapore).

For more information, contact us to get a free consultation!

Five simple steps to incorporate a company in Singapore

Foreign entrepreneurs who have the ambition to enlarge the market or start a business in Asia, particularly in South East Asia, usually choose to register a company in Singapore. One of the most important reasons making Singapore is popular to foreign entrepreneurs is the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank.

In general, it is only five steps to incorporate a company in Singapore. The process may be completed within two working days, and the minimum paid-up capital is only S$1.

Step 1: Determine the business entities

As known, there are many different types of business entities in Singapore including sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership, private limited company, etc. Hence, it is important to choose a business entity form before setting up a company in Singapore.

Compared to other types of business entities, a private limited company is a popular choice for both local and foreign businesses to incorporate. This type of entity limits the liability of shareholders to their contributed share capital. Especially, the company is also entitled to income tax incentives for the first three years of registration, which is the biggest benefit of this business entity type. Also, it creates a professional image and enhances the potential to attract investors.

Step 2: Choose, check and register a name for the company

With any company, naming is always considered carefully to ensure its suitability for the business, the company’s long-term strategy and the image showing to clients and partners.

Please note that ACRA may decline registration of names because for variety reasons. The same name as the pre-registered business is a common reason or the name contains sensitive words or banned by the government, etc.

Thus, you should prepare a list of potential company names including three different names, then ACE Global Accountant will assist you to check whether they are available.

Step 3: Prepare necessary documents

The business must fulfil the following requirements to register a company in Singapore:

  • ACRA approved company name
  • A brief description of the business activity to register the nearest code with ACRA
  • For a corporate shareholder, it is required to provide a certificate of incorporation (COI) and Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • For individuals who are foreigners, it is required to provide a valid passport and proof of address.

Step 4: Submit the application incorporation with ACRA

After completing the above three steps, all the application files for setting up the company will be submitted to ACRA, then the registration process will be conducted. In most cases, ACRA will approve the registration form on the same working day if there are no other necessary documents required.

Step 5: Issue a certificate of incorporation (Biz Profile)

Once the company registration form has been confirmed, ACRA will send a notification via email including a company registration number (UEN) and certificate of incorporation (COI) under an electronic version. Kindly note that ACRA will not provide a hardcopy of the certificate of incorporation because the electronic version is legally used in Singapore.

Find out more information about A Certificate of incorporation in Singapore

Things you need to do after incorporation 

Publish required information

You should ensure that the following items are fully implemented after your company is registered successfully:

  • Publish the certification of incorporation with all shareholders
  • Publish the register which shows the shares of each shareholder

Open a corporate bank account in Singapore

A bank account is a basic requirement for any business in dealing with local and foreign partners and clients. As one of the leading international financial centers in Asia, Singapore has a morden and stable banking system.

To open a bank account, it is complusory for a bank authorised and cheque signatory to phycially present in a bank in Singapore. With some strict international laws such as FATCA, AML and CFT guidelines, some banks will impose strict conditions so you need to have well-prepared to increase successfully ability.

Most banks require you to provide the following documents:

  • An application form for opening a bank account
  • Valid documents of your Singapore company such as Biz Profile and Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • A copy of valid passport of director(s)/ shareholder(s)/bank authorised
  • Proof of address of director(s)/ shareholder(s)/ bank authorised
  • Cheque deposit

Apply for a business license (If any)

You will be required to apply for a license to carry out your business if your company trades in certain types of business activities such as food, education, financial services, tourism, etc. Applying for a business license will be submited by the relevant government agencies.

Prepare and fill annual reports to ARCA and IRAS

Registered companies in Singapore are required to submit annual financial statements according to Singapore’s Financial Reporting Standards. Annual filling requirements are applied to incorporated companies in Singapore including financial statements, estimated chargeable income (ECI), annual general meeting (AGM), annual return (AR), annual tax return. Here is more about A Singapore company – Annual Fillings.

Taxable and Non-Taxable Dividends in Singapore

Profits made from a company in Singapore is distributed to its shareholders, which is called dividend. Dividends are accrued in the year which they will be declared payable. Each shareholder receives dividends based on their share, and these dividends may be paid out to the shareholders either in cash or kind. From 1 January 2008 onwards, Singapore has a one-tiger tax system so shareholders are exempted from tax on dividends which are paid by a Singapore resident company. Here’s all the information you need to know about non-taxable and taxable dividends in Singapore.

Non-Taxable dividends in Singapore

In general, dividends in Singapore which are not subjected to income tax listed belows:

  • Any dividends paid by a Singapore resident company either on or after 1 Jan 2008 under the one-tier corporate tax system except co-operatives;
  • Foreign dividends which are received in Singapore paid by resident individuals either on or after 1 Jan 2004. These dividends may be exempt from Singapore tax if an individual resident in Singapore receives foreign-sourced dividends through a partnership in Singapore, and these dividends are met some certain conditions. For more detail, please find out at Tax Exemption for Foreign-Sourced Income;
  • Income received through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) distribution but except distributions derived by individuals through a partnership in Singapore, or through trade, business or profession in REITs.

Taxable dividends in Singapore

The following dividends are considered taxble in Singapore as follows:

  • Any dividends paid by co-operatives;
  • Income is derived from foreign-sourced through a partnership in Singapore. Some certain conditions may apply;
  • Income which has been made from Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) derived by individuals through a partnership in Singapore, or through trade, business or profession in REITs.

Source: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore 

Responsibilities of a GST-Registered Business in Singapore

In Singapore, GST registration is compulsory if your company’s taxable turnover exceeds S$1 million for the past 12 months or expects to exceed S$1 million in the next 12 months. A GST-registered business is required to fulfill responsibilities from the effective date of GST registration. Here are the responsibilities that your business needs to fulfil after registering GST.

1. Charge and account for GST on Standard-Rated Supplies

If your business is a GST – registered one in Singapore, your goods and services will be charged for a GST tax rate of 7% which is standard in Singapore. You, on behalf of IRAS, will collect an amount of GST tax based on supplies of goods and services.

However, if you make relevant supplies [i.e. local sales of prescribed goods (mobile phones, memory cards, and off-the-shelf software) exceeding $10,000 in value] that are subject to customer accounting, you must not charge GST to your GST-registered customer. Your GST-registered customer receiving the relevant supply will need to account for the GST (as his output tax) instead.

2. e-File GST Returns and Pay Tax Due

It is statutory to file accurate GST returns and pay the tax due on time.

· Filing GST Returns on time

It is required to submit all GST returns via e-Filing (myTax Portal) within one month from the end of each accounting period, even if there is no transaction in the last accounting period and your business taxable turnover is NIL. Note: both output tax (the GST collected from customers) and input tax (the GST paid to suppliers) are reported to IRAS in the GST returns.

· Penalties for filing late or not filing GST returns

From 1 April 2018 onwards, IRAS may impose a penalty of $200 to late and/ or non-filling of GST returns businesses. However, if the GST F5/F8 return is continued to outstanding for every completed month, IRAS will continue to be imposed a penalty of $200 (up to a maximum of $10,000).

Besides, IRAS may issue an estimated assessment of the tax due and the amount is subject to late payment penalties. The estimated assessment and late payment penalties will only be revised upon receipt of the overdue GST return.

As known, failure to e-File is an offense punishable with a fine up to $5,000 and in default of payment, an imprisonment term up to six months.

· Paying GST Due on time

You must pay GST within one month from the end of each accounting period. It means that you will fill GST returns via e-Filling to IRAS and pay GST at the same period time.

· Penalties for paying late or not paying GST

Late or not payment GST on a due date results in a 5% penalty levied on the amount of tax unpaid by the due date. However, if your business continues to unpaid, IRAS will impose an additional penalty of 2% per month on tax remaining unpaid after 60 days from the due date of the prescribed accounting period. (subject to a maximum of 50% of the outstanding tax)

3. Administrative requirements

Keeping business and accounting Records

You need to keep all business and accounting records for at least five years, even if your business ceased or is deregistered from GST.

Notifying IRAS of Changes

When there are any changes to your business including GST mailing address, business constitution or ownership and partner (s) or particulars of partner (s), it is needed to inform the Comptroller within 30 days after any change.

Displaying prices with GST

Any price displays, advertisements, publications or quotations in respect of goods or services made to the public must be inclusive of GST. If both GST-inclusive and GST-exclusive prices are displayed, the GST-inclusive price must be at least as prominent as the GST-exclusive price. Failure to comply with each of these requirements may result in a fine of up to $5,000.

Issue tax invoices with GST registration number

Tax invoices or customer accounting tax invoices for your standard-rated supplies are required to issue. If the total amount payable for your supply (including GST) does not exceed $1,000, you may issue a simplified tax invoice.

Your GST Registration Number should be reflected on all your tax invoices, simplified tax invoices, and receipts.

Accounting for GST at Point of De-Registration

When your GST registration is cancelled, you need to account for GST on business assets held on the last day of registration if GST was previously claimed on their purchase and the total market value of these business assets is more than $10,000.

These assets include inventories, fixed assets, non-residential properties and goods imported under the various GST schemes.

4. Obligations for Voluntary Registrants

In case you are a voluntary GST registration, you have to:

  1. Use GIRO for payment and refund of GST;
  2. Remain GST-registered for at least two years;
  3. Comply fully with the responsibilities of a GST-registered business;
  4. Make taxable supplies within two yearsif you have not started making taxable supplies at the point of applying for GST registration; and
  5. Any other conditions as may be imposed by IRAS. (Note: the Comptroller may cancel the voluntary GST registration when any of the conditions are not met)

Source: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

7 Steps to obtain Employment Pass in Singapore

Employment Pass is one of the most popular work passes which most of the foreign specialists and managers intend to apply when they wish to work in Singapore. It is necessary for you to check whether you are qualified and get well-prepared before applying the Pass. This article provides 7 steps to apply Employment Pass in Singapore with MOM (Ministry of Manpower) who issues work passes and permits in Singapore.

Step 1: Get a job offer in Singapore

You are a foreign specialist from overseas and wish to work in Singapore, which is necessary to apply a work permit for working in Singapore. After you get a job offer in Singapore, a local sponsor or Singaporean employer will usually support you to apply for a work permit in Singapore.

In case you are unable to get a job offer in Singapore, ACE Global Accountant can support you. In fact, you may apply Employment Pass if you are a director or owner of company in Singapore. Hence, we will support you to register a company in Singapore that you are a director. After that, you are qualified to apply Employment Pass, we will assist you in submitting Singapore Employment Pass Application to MOM.  

Step 2: Fulfil criteria for a Singapore Employment Pass Application

  • Work in a managerial, executive or specialised job
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600 (more experienced applicants will be required higher salaries)
  • Have acceptable qualifications, usually a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialised skills

Step 3: Prepare the required documents

  • Copy of passport details 
  • Copies of latest educational certificates/ Academic qualifications
  • Copy of CV
  • Copy of company’s latest business profile or instant information registered with ACRA
  • Verification proof for diploma and above qualifications from Global verification agency, e.g. Dataflow and Risk Management Intelligence (RMI)
  • Additional documents will be asked when you apply for the pass

Note: For non-English documents, the original document and an English translation are needed to submit. 

Step 4: Submit a Singapore Employment Pass Application 

There are two ways to apply for the pass including online and manually. It takes approximately 3 weeks for applying online and 8 weeks for applying manually (It may be longer if the authorities require further background checks). Hence, submitting online is referred to in most cases. 

  • To apply online:
  1. Get a written consent to apply for the Pass from your employer 
  2. Log in to EP Online to fulfill the required documents
  3. Pay fee for application (it can be paid by GIRO, VISA, MasterCard or eNets Debit)
  4. Check your application status after 3 weeks (If additional information is required, it will be longer)
  5. If the pass is approved, log in to EP Online and print the in-principle approval (IPA) letter

The IPA allows you 6 months to stay in Singapore and get the pass issued. 

  • To apply manually:

It is only spent on companies not registered in Singapore. You can submit electronically or at SingPost

Step 5: Get your pass issued

The Employment Pass will be issued within 6 months from in-principle approval. Note that the applicant must stay in Singapore before the pass is issued.

To get the pass issued:

  1. Log in to EP Online to make the request and submit the supporting documents 
  2. Provide a home or office address where you can receive the card
  3. Nominate up to 3 authorised recipients to receive the card, and provide their NRIC, FIN or passport number, mobile numbers and email address
  4. When the pass is issued, print the notification letter

The notification letter allows you to start work in Singapore while waiting for the pass card. 

You will need the following information for issuing the pass:

  • Passport 
  • Details of your current Short Term Visit Pass or immigration pass
  • Your residential address in Singapore 
  • A local address where MOM can deliver the card
  • Contact details of at least one authorised recipient to receive an SMS or email on the delivery details

You may also need to submit PDF copies of these documents:

  • Disembarkation/Embarkation card (immigration white card)
  • Completed medical examination form or health declaration form
  • Completed declaration form attached with the in-principle approval letter

Step 6: Register fingerprints and photos (If required)

Registering fingerprints and photo within 2 weeks after the pass is issued (if required).

To know whether you need to register fingerprints and photos or not, check the notification letter. Usually, those who apply Employment Pass for the first time or have last registration more than 5 years ago will need to register. 

Making an appointment to visit the Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC) along with these documents is necessary for the registration

  • Original passport
  • Appointment letter
  • Notification letter
  • Documents listed in the IPA letter and notification letter

 Step 7: Receive a card

MOM will deliver the card to you after 4 working days from the date of verifying documents or registering fingerprints and photos (if required).

Source: Ministry of Manpower

If you have any inquires about applying Employment Pass in Singapore, contact us for a quote.

Guide to open a corporate bank account in Singapore

After registering a company in Singapore process completely, opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is an essential step because Singapore is indeed considered as the top financial center and business hub in Asia. In general, most of banks in Singapore give bank authorities attractive features such as multi-currency accounts, internet banking, credit cards, trade financing, freedom to move funds across countries, etc. Especially, a procedure for opening the bank account is simple and prompt which lasts approximately 2 weeks to receive a bank account number, bank token and pin code.

The article aims to provide readers the requirements of documents to open a bank account, important notes and how we can assist you in opening a bank account in Singapore.

Requirements for opening a corporate bank account in Singapore

To open a bank account for a company in Singapore, most of banks in Singapore have requirements as follows:

1. A major director and bank authority need to present physically in a bank in Singapore for signing required documents.

2. Submitting completely the required documents for opening the bank account from the banks. Here are documents required for the procedure of opening bank account:

  • Corporate account opening forms
  • Certified of true copies of Certificate of Incorporation, Company’s Business Profile from ACRA and Company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA)
  • Certified of true copies of Passport and Proof of address of the directors, bank authorities, and beneficiary owners.
  • Additional documents which are required by banks in some special cases

 Important notes for a corporate bank account in Singapore

  • Initial deposit required

It is depended on your approached bank, the initial deposit required may be range from S$500 to S$3,000 SGD.

In order to top up the amount of deposit to your corporate bank account, a cheque deposit is required. The cash deposit is not accepted.

  • Minimum balance 

To maintain your corporate bank account, the minimum balance is one of the most essential factors.

As the initial deposit required, the amount of minimum balance is still dependent on the bank which you choose to open the bank account.

Kindly note that you will be charged an additional fee if the bank account is failed below the required minimum balance amount.

  • Currencies

USA, SGD, AUD, EUR and more are popular currencies that banks in Singapore allow you to choose for your corporate bank account. In general, a bank account can hold multiple currencies. Thus, depending on your demands, you can choose multi-currencies to your account.

  • Cheque book

The bank authorities will receive a cheque book after opening the corporate bank account successfully.

  • Internet banking 

A bank token which helps you to transfer money online easily, and manages transactions wherever and whenever you stay.

With an innovation banking system, excellent banking infrastructure and a network of highly skilled finance professionals, owning a corporate bank account in Singapore is one of the most essential factors that helps your business to capitalise on Singapore’s distinctive financial competence.

If you need assistance in opening a bank account in Singapore, kindly contact us for more information.