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Contractor (specifically Dentist) tax question.

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Contractor (specifically Dentist) tax question.

Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 6:51 am

Hi everyone!

I was offered a dentist position in Singapore. It is a commission based contract. I carry out (sell) treatment and get a percentage of that amount. It is not taxed directly.

In my home country, I was in the same situation. There, I was registered as a business and GST registered. I would pay my GST and income tax separately. I would also be able to claim back business expenses and GST on business expenses.

Can someone in a similar situation please explain to me how it works in Singapore? Is GST in this case paid separately from income tax? Any advice, also on accountants would be appreciated. Back home I did my own GST returns as it was basic but used an accountant for the income tax.

Thank you in advance!

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Postby beppi » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 7:37 pm

You'd need an EntrePass to register and run your own business here.
It is quite difficult to get one - you have to convincingly show what the Singapore economy will gain by letting you do this (e.g. local employment - just you living here and paying tax will not be enough!).

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Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 8:07 pm

Hey thanks for your reply. I see the entrepass is to register a company, the terms talk about start up capital, shares, etc. This cannot apply to me.

I work for a company myself, technically I'm an employee, I'm not out on my own or anything, it's just that I have to pay the GST on my income myself. I just asked the company about this and waiting on a reply.

Most dentists in singapore will be working like this on commission, and the company has a few overseas dentists so hopefully they will provide assistance.

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Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 8:12 pm

Turns out here I am considered sole-proprietor/ self employed..

https://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page01.aspx?id=1262

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Postby beppi » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 8:18 pm

There is no visa for working as a freelancer in Singapore.
You can only work for a (locally registered) company. This can be your own (via an EntrePass), or as an employee for another one. In the latter case, minimum salary requirements apply to get a visa (EP) - and commission does not count towards that.
Sorry, but they will not make an exception just because you're a dentist.

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Postby beppi » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 8:20 pm

Also, only locally registered businesses can charge (and pay) GST.

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Postby ecureilx » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 8:42 pm

and .. SDC won't allow you to ply your trade independently ...

no registration = no practice as dentist in SG

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 8:47 pm

unfinished_sentenc wrote:Hey thanks for your reply. I see the entrepass is to register a company, the terms talk about start up capital, shares, etc. This cannot apply to me.

Sorry to say, if you are not currently in Singapore and you want to come here to do business, regardless of the type of business, you have to either come in using a entrepass, or you come in and work for somebody else. The company/business MUST apply for your employment pass. Without an Employment Pass, you cannot work in Singapore, freelance or otherwise. Not sure where you are getting your information, but it is incorrect.

I work for a company myself, technically I'm an employee, I'm not out on my own or anything, it's just that I have to pay the GST on my income myself. I just asked the company about this and waiting on a reply.

Unless you have residency here you cannot work (this means a Dependents Pass, Employment pass, Permanent Residency or Citizenship. Without one of those, all the rest are moot questions. If you are working for another company, legally, then that company is doing the invoicing and they pay any GST (assuming that the revenues are over 1 million per annum (less than that and GST is not required).

Most dentists in singapore will be working like this on commission, and the company has a few overseas dentists so hopefully they will provide assistance.

I don't know of any dentists who work like that (legally) as they cannot do it without either registering a business (self-employed via the Entrepass scheme or as an employee of another registered Business/Company.

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Postby ecureilx » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 9:10 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:...


you have a lot of patience .. lately ... LOL

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Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 9:17 pm

I think you guys misunderstood what I said. I wasn't clear enough when I said I was offered a position and that I work for a company myself.

What I meant was, I was offered a position with a Dental Group in Singapore, with dozens of clinics in Singapore. I'll be working for them. It's legit, I'm not trying to go out on my own. The company will apply for an EP for me obviously.

My question was about GST and income tax - I didn't know whether I pay GST (it seems that's not the case) as in my own country I was responsible.

I will look into entrePASS but before I will await the company's response. I'm sure they have gone through this heaps of times and will point me in the right direction.

Thanks for the info

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Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 9:18 pm

ecureilx wrote:and .. SDC won't allow you to ply your trade independently ...

no registration = no practice as dentist in SG


I said I was offered a position with a company. I specifically said I'm not going out on my own. I never mentioned anything about registration or anything like that. I wanted to know about GST and tax.

Of course I would be registered with the SDC prior to working here. I don't know why you decided to mention that.

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Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 9:22 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
unfinished_sentenc wrote:Hey thanks for your reply. I see the entrepass is to register a company, the terms talk about start up capital, shares, etc. This cannot apply to me.

Sorry to say, if you are not currently in Singapore and you want to come here to do business, regardless of the type of business, you have to either come in using a entrepass, or you come in and work for somebody else. The company/business MUST apply for your employment pass. Without an Employment Pass, you cannot work in Singapore, freelance or otherwise. Not sure where you are getting your information, but it is incorrect.

I work for a company myself, technically I'm an employee, I'm not out on my own or anything, it's just that I have to pay the GST on my income myself. I just asked the company about this and waiting on a reply.

Unless you have residency here you cannot work (this means a Dependents Pass, Employment pass, Permanent Residency or Citizenship. Without one of those, all the rest are moot questions. If you are working for another company, legally, then that company is doing the invoicing and they pay any GST (assuming that the revenues are over 1 million per annum (less than that and GST is not required).

Most dentists in singapore will be working like this on commission, and the company has a few overseas dentists so hopefully they will provide assistance.

I don't know of any dentists who work like that (legally) as they cannot do it without either registering a business (self-employed via the Entrepass scheme or as an employee of another registered Business/Company.


Sorry when I said I work for a company myself, I tried to explain that I'm not trying to start my own company. I will be working for one in Singapore. I haven't gone in enough details with them, but it seems like they will apply for my EP. I was just unsure about how GST works in SIngapore and whether I pay for it myself.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 10:30 pm

First of all, beppi is incorrect when he says you must have an Entrepass. I have specifically asked MOM about how a professional services person would ever be able to work in Singapore, given the onerous conditions of the Entrepass.

The answer is that a professional services person would form a private limited, engage the services of a nominee director, and have the director make application for an EP for the person.

Each application would be reviewed on its own merits. If the applicant has the skills and experience, has a track record, has contracts/clients or a plan to get them, and has cash to support her/him self to profitability, then the chances are good that the EP will be approved.

Rivkin and others specifically offer such a "package" application and quite a few people have successfully gone this route.

To the OP - your initial post is rather confusing. It certainly looked like you were coming over as an independent. Now you say that you are actually working for the company and that they will apply for an EP for you.

If they are applying for an EP for you, then they are the company and they have responsibility for GST. You do not. GST must be collected by companies with an annual turnover of one million or more. With the exception of restaurants and a couple of other things, GST must be reflected in the quoted price.

Therefore, if you planned on selling your treatment for $100, you would either collect an actual $93 or advertise a selling price of $107.

GST is remitted quarterly to the taxing authorities by the company. The actual amount remitted works like this. Let's say the company collected $10,000 in GST. But the company also paid out $3,000 in GST in the acquisition of goods and services. Then the actual amount the company would remit to IRAS would be $7,000.

So, you might want to consider internally how you would handle GST and the computation of your net commission but under the circumstances you have described, you, individually will never collect and remit GST.

Also, since you are working for this company, you will not have a business and will not be claiming business expenses to the government. Again, you would want to work this out with the company with respect to computation of your net commission.

If you were to form a private limited, obtain an nominee director, and apply for an EP, then you would have your own business, along with the filing of business tax returns, which obviously have business expenses offset from gross revenues. But, you still wouldn't need to collected GST unless your annual turnover was one million or greater.

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Postby unfinished_sentenc » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 11:17 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:First of all, beppi is incorrect when he says you must have an Entrepass. I have specifically asked MOM about how a professional services person would ever be able to work in Singapore, given the onerous conditions of the Entrepass.

The answer is that a professional services person would form a private limited, engage the services of a nominee director, and have the director make application for an EP for the person.

Each application would be reviewed on its own merits. If the applicant has the skills and experience, has a track record, has contracts/clients or a plan to get them, and has cash to support her/him self to profitability, then the chances are good that the EP will be approved.

Rivkin and others specifically offer such a "package" application and quite a few people have successfully gone this route.

To the OP - your initial post is rather confusing. It certainly looked like you were coming over as an independent. Now you say that you are actually working for the company and that they will apply for an EP for you.

If they are applying for an EP for you, then they are the company and they have responsibility for GST. You do not. GST must be collected by companies with an annual turnover of one million or more. With the exception of restaurants and a couple of other things, GST must be reflected in the quoted price.

Therefore, if you planned on selling your treatment for $100, you would either collect an actual $93 or advertise a selling price of $107.

GST is remitted quarterly to the taxing authorities by the company. The actual amount remitted works like this. Let's say the company collected $10,000 in GST. But the company also paid out $3,000 in GST in the acquisition of goods and services. Then the actual amount the company would remit to IRAS would be $7,000.

So, you might want to consider internally how you would handle GST and the computation of your net commission but under the circumstances you have described, you, individually will never collect and remit GST.

Also, since you are working for this company, you will not have a business and will not be claiming business expenses to the government. Again, you would want to work this out with the company with respect to computation of your net commission.

If you were to form a private limited, obtain an nominee director, and apply for an EP, then you would have your own business, along with the filing of business tax returns, which obviously have business expenses offset from gross revenues. But, you still wouldn't need to collected GST unless your annual turnover was one million or greater.


Thank you for your message. Very informative.

I do understand my original post was a bit unclear - when I said "I was offered a dentist position in Singapore. It is a commission based contract" I though it would be understood I would be working for a company. I wasn't aware of individual dentists here.

The company did say they will assist me in applying for an EP once I'm registered with the SDC. I am currently waiting on more information from them, and I'm sure I'll be informed if it will be a private limited.

Again, thanks for the information it's exactly what I was looking for. I also understand the GST situation clearly now. Cheers

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 15 Feb 2014 11:45 pm

unfinished_sentenc wrote:The company did say they will assist me in applying for an EP once I'm registered with the SDC.


The company MUST apply for your EP. You cannot. The company must justify why they want you and not a local. If you have a rare skill and the expected amount of your commission compensation is good, then this should not be an issue.


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