FAQs

Central Provident Fund FAQs

Are there any exemptions for CPF contributions?

Yes.  Employees who are exempted from CPF contributions are:

Foreigners on Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass or Work Permit
CPF contributions are not allowed for foreigners. Both the employer’s and employee’s share of contributions for foreign employees on Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass or Work Permit will not be accepted.

Partners, sole-proprietors or self-employed
All Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents who derive income from Singapore or from outside Singapore through any trade, business, profession or vocation excluding employment under a contract of service are considered self-employed. Unlike employees, they do not contribute to all 3 CPF accounts. Instead, they are only required to contribute to their Medisave, which is computed based on their annual net trade income earned.

Employees working overseas
CPF contributions are not mandatory for Singaporean employees who work overseas. If you wish to continue making CPF contributions for your existing employees who are posted overseas, these are deemed as voluntary contributions. You have to register for a new CPF Submission Number (CSN) for such payments.

What is CPF?

The Central Provident Fund commonly abbreviated by Singaporeans and referred to as CPF, is a compulsory comprehensive social security saving plan. It aims to provide working Singaporeans with a sense of security and confidence in their old age.Under the purview of the Ministry of Manpower, the Central Provident Fund is administered by the Central Provident Fund Board which is a Statutory Board.

What is CPF for?

Your CPF is for your retirement. You can withdraw your CPF savings when you turn 55, after setting aside your CPF Minimum Sum. Your CPF Minimum Sum can be used to buy life annuity from a participating insurance company, placed with a participating bank or left in your Retirement Account with the CPF Board. From 62 (current draw-down age), you will receive monthly payments from your CPF Minimum Sum to help meet your basic needs in retirement.

Can I use CPF for Education Scheme?

Yes.  The Education Scheme is a loan scheme that allows you to use your CPF savings for full-time tertiary education in Singapore for those who are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents.

Can I nominate a beneficiary of my CPF savings upon my death?

Your CPF nomination allows you to specify who to receive your CPF savings, and how much each nominee should receive, when you are no longer around.

You do not need to make a CPF nomination if you wish to distribute your CPF savings under the intestacy laws. Distribution under the intestacy laws ensures that your family members will receive your CPF savings.

If your nominee is below the age of 18 years old at the time your CPF savings are paid out, his/her share will be forwarded to the Public Trustee for administration until he/she reaches 18 years of age.

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Company Directors and Shareholders FAQs

Restriction on Foreign Ownership

“Does Singapore have any restrictions on foreign ownership?”

Singapore has no restrictions on foreign individual or corporate shareholder owning 100% of the company.

How does the director convene a shareholders’ meeting?

Usually a company has at least one meeting in a year which is known as the annual general meeting (AGM). The directors must ensure that the first AGM is held within 18 months of the incorporation of the company and, following that, in every calendar year at not more than 15 months interval. The Companies Act also requires that all AGMs must be held within six months from the financial year end of the company.

The directors themselves or on the requisition of members may convene any shareholders’ meeting to vote on certain issues that require the agreement by the members. These are generally known as extraordinary general meetings (EGM).

What are the Documents Needed for Singapore Company Registration?

For a successful Singapore business incorporation you will need the following information and documents:

  • Company Name
  • Registered Address
  • A Description of Business Activities
  • Shareholders Particulars
  • Directors Particulars
  • Company Secretary Particulars
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA).
  • A copy of Singapore identity card (IC) for Singapore Residents or a copy of passport, overseas residential address proof, and other information for foreigners.
  • If the shareholder is a corporate entity, you need to submit a copy of registration documents such as Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum & Articles of Association.

For non-English documents, an officially-endorsed translated version is required.

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Company Incorporation FAQs

Usage of Paid-Up Capital

After we have injected the money into our company as paid-up capital, how soon can we start using it towards business expenses or investment?

There is no lockup period as such. You can start using it towards your company’s needs immediately.

What is the procedure for increasing paid-up capital at a later date?

You will first need to inject the necessary capital into your company bank account and send us a copy of the bank deposit slip showing the capital injection.

Upon receipt of the proof of capital injection, we will prepare the documents and lodged with the corporate authorities.

Upon obtaining your signature on the above documents, we will be able to lodge them with ACRA and get an updated company profile showing the revised paid-up capital for your Singapore company.

Do I need to seek permission to use my residential address as my business address?

For some residential addresses, you need to seek permission from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) or Urban Development Authority. If you are not the owner of the address, but a tenant, it would be wise to check with your landlord if he allows you to use the premises as the registered address.

Can we use non-cash consideration to increase the paid-up capital of our company?

Yes, non-cash considerations such as fixed assets can be used to increase the paid-up capital. However, sufficient evidence of the valuation of the assets must be provided.

Post-Incorporation Considerations

Once the Singapore company has been incorporated, what are the post incorporation issues I need to consider before I can start my company business activities?

After your Singapore company has been setup, you can start your business activities immediately. However, you may need to do the following if it is applicable to you.

  • Open bank accounts. You may want to choose a bank that serves your corporate banking needs. i.e. Letter of credit, multi currency, location of the bank, banking hours, and check the other services they can offer you, etc.
  • If your business requires one or more licenses, you may need to obtain the relevant licences first before you can commence your business activities.
  • Register for Goods & Services Tax (GST) if necessary. The registration of GST is not mandatory unless your annual turnover exceeds S$1 million. We can help to register for GST, if you so require.
  • If your company activities involves import and exports of goods, you will need to register and obtain a Central Registration (CR) number. The CR number is used in all import, export and transshipment permits, certificates and any other documents issued by the Singapore Customs. We can help obtain a CR number for your company if required.
  • If you plan to hire any foreign employee including yourself, your company will need to apply for employment pass (EP) for that person. We can assist you with Employment Pass applications.
  • If you intend to hire local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) you will need to open a CPF account with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board and a percentage of the local employees’ salaries will be contributed to this Board on a monthly basis as part of their retirement fund. For more details, please visit the CPF website. We can help you register your Company CPF account and manage your staff payroll, if required.
  • You will need to decide on your company’s financial year end which can be any date within 18 months from the date of incorporation of your company.
  • You will need to keep track of your income and expenses (bookkeeping) according to Singapore accounting standards. Depending upon the volume of transactions, we can provide bookkeeping services either on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly accounting basis
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Company Statutory Compliance FAQs

Who do I file my annual accounts with?

Annual accounts are required to be filed with ACRA (Registrar of Companies) and IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) unless exempted.

What is ECI?

ECI is Estimated Chargeable Income.  Companies are required to declare the revenue amount and estimated chargeable income by filing ECI form with IRAS within 3 months of the financial year end of the company.

What is an Annual Return?

An annual return is the annual filing requirement that maintains your corporation’s existence and verifies the information we have in our records is correct.

Do I need to display my Company Registration Number?

The Singapore Companies Act now requires every company to have the Company name and registration number on all business letters, statements of account, invoices, official notices and publications.

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Corporate Services FAQs

Which bank can I open a corporate account within Singapore?

Singapore has an excellent and varied choices of well-reputed local and international banks for opening corporate accounts.

Standard Chartered (www.standardchartered.com.sg)
HSBC (www.hsbc.com.sg)
Citibank (www.citibank.com.sg)
DBS (www.dbs.com.sg)
UOB www.uob.com.sg
Maybank

Is it easy to open a corporate bank account in Singapore?

Once you have incorporated your Singapore Company, opening a Singapore corporate bank account will invariably be approved. Singapore welcomes all genuine business setup. Usually the bank will conduct their due diligence (often called “Know Your Client” due diligence) on the proposed activities of the company as well as the background of the principals involved. There is no reason for the Bank to object the opening of your bank account unless they suspect that you are not a:

  • Bonefide client
  • Your business activity is not supported by the bank i.e. Gambling, e Funds etc.
  • You are involved in money laundering
  • You have personal history of past bad records

Under normal circumstances, there should not be any problem with opening the corporate bank account for a Singapore company.

Does AsiaBiz provide such registered address services?

AsiaBiz provides a prestigious registered address, which can be used as your registered and business address for your company. The address can be used on business cards, letterheads or any other official documents.

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Corporate Tax FAQs

Are there any conditions to qualify to these exemptions?

Note: *A qualifying new company must fulfill the following conditions:

  • It is incorporated in Singapore;
  • It is a tax resident of Singapore for that Year of Assessment;
  • It has no more than 20 shareholders throughout the basis period relating to that Year of Assessment;
  • All its shareholders are individuals throughout the basis period relating to that Year of Assessment OR start-up companies with corporate shareholders can qualify for the existing Start-Up Tax Exemption Scheme, provided that there is at least one individual shareholder of minimum 10% shareholding.

*A company is resident in Singapore if the control and management of its business is exercised in Singapore.

Are there any Tax Incentives for foreign companies to set up in Singapore?

To encourage foreign capital inflow into Singapore, there are tax incentives provided to various industries namely in the form of reduced corporate tax rates.

Finance & Treasury Centre Co. 10%
Fund Manager 10%/exempt
Headquarters Co. 10%
International Commodity Trader 10%
Offshore Leasing 10%
Oil Trader 10%
Securities Company 10%/exempt
Trustee Company 10%
Arts & Antique Dealers 10%
Asian Currency Unit 10%/exempt
Insurance & Re-insurance Co. 10%/exempt
Members of Commodity Futures Exchange 10%
Pioneer/Incentive Co. exempt/various
Financial Sector Incentive Co. 5%/10%
Cyber Trader 10%
Commodity Derivatives Trader (New) 5%

 

Tax Rates for Companies

“What is the tax rates for companies for Year of Assessment 2013 and for those who do not qualify for the New Start up exemption rates?”

Singapore corporate tax rate is 17%. When taking into account the rebates and tax exemptions available to resident companies, Singapore has one of the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the world.

Companies that are not eligible for full exemption may still qualify for partial tax exemption, as follows:

Taxable Income Effective Tax Rates
$100K 5.65%
$300K 5.80%
$500K 8.27%
$1M 11.41%
$5M 15.88%
$10M 16+%
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Permanent Residence FAQs

Am I eligible to apply for Singapore PR?

The following people are eligible to apply for Permanent Resident in Singapore:

  • Spouse or unmarried children (below 21 years old) of a Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident
  • Aged parents of a Singapore Citizen,
  • Employment Pass (P or Q Pass) Holders
  • Investors/Entrepreneurs and exceptional artists

Feel free to consult our experts for your eligibility of Singapore PR by filing up the contact form.

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GST FAQs

What is Taxable Turnover?

“Taxable Turnover” is the total value of all taxable supplies made in Singapore (excluding GST) in the course of furtherance of business. This includes the value of all standard-rated (GST at prevailing rates) and zero-rated (GST at 0%) supplies but it excludes exempt supplies, out-of-scope supplies and the sale of capital assets.

For the purpose of determining your liability for GST registration, the value of exempt supplies that are international services under Gst Act should also be excluded from your total taxable supplies.

Rules for GST Registration

“I am a director of several companies, partner of multiple partnerships and owner of sole-proprietorship businesses. What is the registration rule for each type of business engagement to determine my liability to register for GST?”

Incorporated companies are separate legal entities. The registration liability of an incorporated company will be determined on its own. It is required to register for GST if its turnover for the past 12 months is more than S$1 million or is expected to be more than S$1 million in the next 12 months.

To determine the registration liability for sole-proprietorship business, a sole-proprietor (who can be an individual or a corporate entity) will need to combine the turnover from all his trade, provision or vocation and all his sole-proprietorship businesses. If the combined turnover is more than S$1 million or is expected to be more than S$1 million or is expected to be more than S$1 million, he will be liable to register. The registration will be in the name of the sole-proprietor.

What is an Out-of-Scope Supply?

An Out-of-Scope Supply is a supply which is not made in Singapore (for example, sale of goods from China to India where the goods do not enter Singapore). Since these supplies fall outside the scope of GST, GST is not chargeable on these supplies.

If I am liable to register, can I choose the date that I want to commence registration?

Once you are liable to register, you are required to inform the Comptroller for GST within 30 days from the date your liability arises. The Comptroller will register you within the next 30 days. You can be registered earlier than this date (subject to the Comptroller’s approval).

Exemption from GST Registration

“My turnover is more than S$1 million in the past 12 months but I do not want to be registered for GST. Can I be exempted from registration?”

No. It is compulsory for you to register for GST once your liability to register arises. The only exemption is when you are certain that your turnover for the next 12 months will not be more than S$1 million. For example if you have plans to wind up your business in the next 12 months.

If your taxable supplies are wholly and substantially zero-rated supplies, you may apply for exemption from registration.

If you are granted an exemption, you need not file GST returns. However, you will not be able to claim the GST incurred on your business purchases of goods or services.

“Zero-Rated Supplies” refer to export of goods or international services. For example, provision of international transport.

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Personal Tax FAQs

How are fringe benefits taxed?

Employer-provided fringe benefits are taxed in the employee’s hands. As a number of benefits are taxed on a concessionary basis in Singapore, it is possible to reduce an individual’s tax liability through appropriate structuring of his/her remuneration package.

What is the Singapore income tax rate?

The Singapore individual income tax rates for YA 2013 and onwards are shown below. Singapore individual / personal income taxes are charged progressively (0% – 20%), based on your chargeable income. The chargeable income is your income plus any other personal income, minus all deductions, relief’s and rebates.

Year of Assessment 2013 onwards
Chargeable Income Rate (%) Gross Tax Payable ($)
On the first
On the next
20,000
10,000
0
2
0
200
On the first
On the next
30,000
10,000

3.5
200
350
On the first
On the next
40,000
40,000

7
550
2,800
On the first
On the next
On the next
80,000
40,000
40,000

11.5
15
3,350
4,600
6,000
On the first
On the next
On the next
160,000
40,000
120,000

17
18
13,950
6,800
21,600
On the first
In excess of
320,000
320,000

20
42,350

Singapore Personal Tax Tips

General Personal tax Information – for Individuals (Foreigners):

  • The amount of income tax that you have to pay depends on your tax residency in Singapore.
  • Top marginal resident tax rate of 20% kicks in at S$320,000 of taxable income.  Non-residents are taxed at the flat rate of 15% or the resident rates whichever results in a higher tax amount.
  • Income is assessed on a preceding calendar year basis, ending 31 December. You must File Your Annual Tax Form by 15 April of the following year. You can usually expect to receive the income tax bills from May to August.
  • Besides salaries and bonuses, perquisites such as housing and stock options will form part of your taxable employment income.
  • Overseas income derived outside Singapore, Singapore dividends and bank interests are tax exempt in Singapore.

Paying your taxes: Sign up for the 12-month interests free GIRO Deduction Plan to pay your income tax
by installments. Otherwise, full payment has to be made within one month from the date of the income tax bill.

Are you a Tax resident or non-resident?

Different tax rates apply for tax residents and non-residents. You will be treated as a tax resident for a
particular Year of Assessment (YA) if you are a:

  • Singaporean; or
  • Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) if you have established your permanent home in Singapore; or
  • Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year (excludes director of a company).

Otherwise, you will be treated as a non-resident for a particular YA for Singapore tax purposes.

Tax rates for non-resident individuals

  • Employment income
    Your employment income is taxed at 15% or resident rate, whichever gives rise to a higher tax amount.
  • Director’s fees, consultation fees & all other income
    The director’s fees, consultation fees and all other income that you received will be taxed at 20%.

If you are leaving Singapore or changing job

If you are about to leave Singapore or changing to another job within Singapore, your current employer
needs to notify IRAS and ensure that you settle all your taxes before you go. This process is known as tax
clearance. If you have any existing stock options or awards on hand which have yet to be exercised or vested,
you will be deemed to have derived gains from the stock or awards at the point of tax clearance.

Tax rates for resident individuals

Chargeable Income (S$) Rate (%) Gross Tax Payable (S$)
On the first
On the next
20,000
10,000
0
3.50
0.00
350.00
On the first
On the next
30,000
10,000
5.50
350.00
550.00
On the first
On the next
40,000
40,000
8.50
900.00
3,400.00
On the first
On the next
80,000
80,000
14
4,300.00
11,200.00
On the first
On the next
160,000
160,000
17
15,500.00
27,200.00
On the first
Above
320,000
320,000
20
42,700.00

For YA 2008 and 2009, a personal income tax rebate of 20%, up to a maximum of $2,000 is granted.

Ways to save tax

  • Tax residents are eligible for tax reliefs that can be offset against the assessable income. You can get reliefs for wife support, child maintenance etc. Conditions apply.
  • You may claim expenses incurred against your employment income; enjoy tax deductions for approved charitable donations. Conditions apply.
  • Under the Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) Scheme, you can enjoy either Time Apportionment of Singapore employment income or Tax Exemption of Employer’s contributions to Overseas Pension Fund, or both. Conditions apply.
  • If you work for a foreign employer and need to travel overseas in the course of work, you may enjoy time apportionment of employment income under the Area Representative Scheme. Conditions apply.
  • With the Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaties signed by Singapore, your income may not be taxed twice in Singapore and your home country. Conditions apply.

Need help on your Tax assessment and submission?

Asiabiz Services can assist you in your personal income tax filings. Our personal tax filing services include:

  • Registration for new tax payers
  • Preparation and filing of income tax return based on your income and determination of possible deductions and reliefs that are applicable to you
  • Request for extension of deadline, if necessary
  • Preparation of Form IR8A for employees
  • Tax planning and tax advice

If you would like us to assist you with your personal income tax return, please contact us at +65 6320 1877 to discuss your requirement in detail or send us an email at ptax@asiabiz.sg and we will get back to you.

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Trademark Registration FAQs

Does registering my trademark in Singapore protect me overseas?

For protection beyond Singapore, you will need to apply to the appropriate authority in the country in which you want trademark protection.

Alternatively, you may apply via the Madrid protocol, and you will get protection in countries which are party to the protocol.

Must I register a trademark in Singapore before seeking protection overseas?

It is not imperative to apply for a trademark in Singapore before seeking protection overseas. However, in order to file an international application under the Madrid Protocol, you should register the trademark in the country of origin.

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Work Visa FAQs

What is Employment Pass?

The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of Singapore work visa issued to foreign entrepreneurs, professionals, skilled employees, managers and owners (shareholders)/directors of Singapore companies.

The EP does not fall under any quota system and is not charged a monthly levy.

Who is eligible for PEP?

The MOM has tightened the eligibility requirements to ensure that the Singapore Personalised Employment Pass remains a top-tier visa for highly qualified individuals.

The following foreigners are qualified to apply for a PEP:

  • P1 Pass holders who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$12,000;
  • Overseas applicants who are not unemployed for longer than 6 consecutive months and whose last drawn fixed monthly salary was at least S$18,000;
  • Applicants who earn a minimum annual fixed salary worth S$144,000.

Can I relocate my family to Singapore once my Employment pass is approved?

With effect of 1 September 2012, all Singapore Employment Pass holders who earn a minimum of S4,000 per month can apply for Dependant Pass and/or Long-Term Visit Pass for their family members.

Dependant Pass

Both P1 and P2 Pass holders can apply for Dependant Pass for their:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried, biological or legally-adopted children under 21 years of age

If you are an Employment or an EntrePass pass holder, your spouse is eligible to work in Singapore as a dependant pass holder. However, your prospective employer is required to apply for a Letter of Consent (LOC) with Ministry of Manpower. (Note: Not eligible for S Pass holders)

However, with effect of 1 September 2012, the following parties will not qualify under the Dependant Pass program:

  • Parents-in-law of P1 Pass holders
  • Parents or parents-in-law of P2 Pass holders

Long-Term Visit Pass

P Pass holders can also apply for Long-Term Visit Pass for their:

  • Common law spouse
  • Unmarried children above 21 years of age
  • Handicapped children
  • Step-children
  • Parents/parents-in-law

A Snap Shot

Pass type granted to EP holder Dependant Pass Long-term Visit Pass
P Pass type Yes for

  • Spouse
  • Children below 21 years
Yes for

  • Common law spouse
  • Unmarried children above 21 years
  • Handicapped children
  • Step-children
  • Parents/Parents-in-law
Q1 Pass Type If you earn more that S$4,000 per month, you may sponsor the stay of your:

  • Spouse
  • Children below 21 years
No

 

Who can apply for an employment pass?

You can apply for the Singapore Employment Pass (EP) or Singapore work visa, if you are a:

  • foreign entrepreneur who has incorporated Singapore Company;
  • managing director of a registered business in Singapore;
  • shareholder of a Singapore company who wish to relocate to Singapore to manage your company operations
  • professional with in demand skills set and have an Employment offer from a prospective Singapore employer. In this case, you will need the company to apply for the employment pass on your behalf.
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Need help starting a business in Singapore?

We’ve got it all covered. With AsiaBiz, you get a dedicated one-stop solution for your company incorporation, immigration, offshore setup, accounting, taxation, and corporate compliance needs.

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