MNCs are tax residents, but not considered local entities

There are separate laws governing charitable organisations and religious organisations, and businesses ("Greater clarity needed on what constitutes a foreign entity" by Mr Han Ming Guang; yesterday).

A branch of a foreign company that operates in Singapore is legally part of the foreign company and is not its own entity.

This is an important point since it means that the foreign company's head office bears the ultimate responsibility for any liabilities arising from the acts of commission or omission of the Singapore branch office.

The liabilities of a branch extend to its head office.

A branch having a registered office in Singapore means that its head office (foreign corporation) can be served with legal process in Singapore.

Also, the accounts of the head office must be lodged with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and made available for public inspection.

Therefore, even though these foreign corporations are tax residents and are subject to Singapore's tax laws, they are not considered local entities.

Lance Kuan Weng Chi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'MNCs are tax residents, but not considered local entities'. Print Edition | Subscribe