Tax obligations for returning Singaporeans and foreigners

For Singaporeans or Singapore permanent residents returning from working abroad:

Employment income for the period from the arrival in Singapore to Sept 30 will not be taxable here if:

• there is no change in the individual's overseas employment contract terms before and after return to Singapore; and

• this is a temporary work arrangement due to Covid-19.

The Sept 30 end date is subject to review by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) as the outbreak situation evolves.

Overseas income received in Singapore is not taxable and need not be declared, even if paid into a Singapore bank account.

For foreigners employed by a Singapore company who are leaving the country:

Employers must notify Iras at least one month before employees either stop working in Singapore or leave the country for more than three months.

They must also withhold all money due to the foreign employee, which will be used to settle any outstanding taxes. This applies to all work pass holders. The excess amount will be given to the employee afterwards.

The submission deadline for tax clearance forms for foreign employees leaving Singapore that are due this month and the next has been extended to June 30. Foreign employees can leave Singapore in the meantime, but should keep Iras and their employers updated on their overseas contact information.

For foreigners employed overseas working in Singapore on a short-term assignment:

Foreigners working for an overseas employer in Singapore on a short-term assignment who are unable to leave the Republic due to Covid-19 will not have to pay taxes on their employment income if:

• the period of extended stay in Singapore is not more than 60 days; and

• the work done during the extended stay is not connected to the short-term assignment in Singapore and would have been done overseas if not for the coronavirus situation.

Employment income for the assignment period in Singapore - excluding the extended stay - will be tax-exempt if the assignment period is not more than 60 days in a calendar year. If the working period is more than 60 days but less than 183 days in a calendar year, employment income will be taxed at 15 per cent or at resident rates, whichever is higher.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2020, with the headline Tax obligations for returning Singaporeans and foreigners. Subscribe