Singapore Expats Forum

Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Discuss your views about Singapore business & economy, current policies & issues, starting a business in Singapore.
Spottyb
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue, 21 Feb 2017

Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby Spottyb » Tue, 21 Feb 2017 6:55 pm

Husband may be transferred to Singapore from Australia. I'll have a partner employment pass. I already work 'remotely' here so continuing my role in singapore would not be an issue for my employer. I simply need a good internet connection.

Based on the posts in other threads, my employer may have to register as a business in Singapore, however what tax implications are there for myself and my employer in Singapore, if they continue to pay me in AUD? Is this even possible?

We are getting some tax advice for ourselves, but wondering if this is something my employer could do before I float them the idea. I don't really want to have to look for work in Singapore, if I could continue with the role I have now.

Been working full time since my kids were 2&5 and they are teens now. The idea of being a lady of leisure is not appealing to me :lol:

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10512
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:18 pm

If the company you are working for provides no goods and services in Singapore and has no presence at all, then you can work for the company without needing an employment pass of any type or having any kind of legal registration for the company.

Example: You are using your computer at home to access a company server in Australia. The company provides, say, marketing services to Australian companies. It has no clients in Singapore. It delivers no products to Singapore. You can work for this company without a work permit because your activities have zero bearing upon the employment status of any Singaporean or any Singaporean registered company.

You will, however, have to file and pay personal income tax. This is because you are actively earning money in Singapore. Note that this differs from passive income... you could be earning income from rental properties in Australia, for example, and that would not be taxable in Singapore.

Edited to add: It doesn't matter what currency you are paid in, nor what bank (local or foreign) your pay is paid into. What matters is the fact that you are generating active income in Singapore which is therefore personally taxable in Singapore.

Note that this is also applicable to persons who are working for a registered Singapore entity. They could be paid AUD into an Australian bank account... it doesn't matter... they are actively earning income in Singapore.

Spottyb
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue, 21 Feb 2017

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby Spottyb » Wed, 22 Feb 2017 4:43 am

Thank you for the reply Strong Eagle! Sounds like this may work well for us. Paying the lower tax rate is a bonus as well.

I work as an Ops Manager/Inventory controller for a medium speciality retail chain (35 stores) and manufacturer who has no presence in Singapore, though they are hoping to export goods to China. Based on Google search only, Singapore could be a good spot for a new store. We recently opened one in the USA and it has taken off.

Will chat with my employer over the next few weeks once my husband's job offer is finalised. I will also investigate their tax implications here as I am sure the Aus government will want their share.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10512
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 22 Feb 2017 6:11 am

Spottyb wrote:Will chat with my employer over the next few weeks once my husband's job offer is finalised. I will also investigate their tax implications here as I am sure the Aus government will want their share.


The personal income tax stuff is pretty straightforward... you generally pay income tax in the country in which you are working.

However, perhaps PNGMK will chime in here about Oz Superannuation programs... life is much more complicated there, and he knows all about it.

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4938
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 22 Feb 2017 6:44 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
Spottyb wrote:Will chat with my employer over the next few weeks once my husband's job offer is finalised. I will also investigate their tax implications here as I am sure the Aus government will want their share.


The personal income tax stuff is pretty straightforward... you generally pay income tax in the country in which you are working.

However, perhaps PNGMK will chime in here about Oz Superannuation programs... life is much more complicated there, and he knows all about it.


Australian income tax is levied on tax residents of Australia. I would seek non resident status in Australia (it's relatively straight forward and plenty of advice out there but basically don't maintain a home in Australia and work outside for at least 90 days). If you on a salary and doing PAYE you need to have that salary directed to an entity / country where the Australian paying entity does not have to deduct income tax for the ATO. IF you were working as a contractor with an ABN and receiving income and then paying tax on it in Australia you may have a slightly more complex situation - in this case I would shift the contract to an offshore person or entity. As for super you can make voluntary contributions while non resident I believe.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

wfhmom
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri, 09 Jun 2017

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby wfhmom » Fri, 09 Jun 2017 7:35 am

Hello,

There have been plenty of threads on this topic and also I went on MOM website and researched. However, I have a slightly different issue and help would be much appreciated.

My husband and I are US Citizens and my husband is currently on EP here in SG and I arrived in Singapore on DP; past Monday. My company in US, still wants me on board and continue working remotely (part time for 3 months - my request and then go back to being full time). I would be reporting to my department and company in US. Everything seemed to be okay until last week.

My company has an office here in Singapore and though i would not be working or reporting to the Singapore office, there seems to be some legal issues and HR on both sides are dragging their feet. Since Singapore office is saying that there are legal issues involved; I am trying to understand what they are.

I would appreciate some advise and information. Would I be able to continue working if I got Letter of Consent? Can I work on DP for US company without getting the Singapore Office involved? What are my options so I can still work? Do I need to be full time to get LOC or able to work? What are the tax implications? Do I still pay taxes to both countries?
Please advise.
Thank you!

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10512
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:15 pm

wfhmom wrote:Hello,

There have been plenty of threads on this topic and also I went on MOM website and researched. However, I have a slightly different issue and help would be much appreciated.

My husband and I are US Citizens and my husband is currently on EP here in SG and I arrived in Singapore on DP; past Monday. My company in US, still wants me on board and continue working remotely (part time for 3 months - my request and then go back to being full time). I would be reporting to my department and company in US. Everything seemed to be okay until last week.

My company has an office here in Singapore and though i would not be working or reporting to the Singapore office, there seems to be some legal issues and HR on both sides are dragging their feet. Since Singapore office is saying that there are legal issues involved; I am trying to understand what they are.

I would appreciate some advise and information. Would I be able to continue working if I got Letter of Consent? Can I work on DP for US company without getting the Singapore Office involved? What are my options so I can still work? Do I need to be full time to get LOC or able to work? What are the tax implications? Do I still pay taxes to both countries?
Please advise.
Thank you!


I am not a lawyer, and, I am almost certain that you will need an EP to work for the company. The reason is this: The chances are very high that the Singapore company is a private limited company with all the stock wholly owned by the parent company in the USA. Therefore, the company has a legal presence in Singapore, therefore you must have an EP.

I have previously communicated with MoM regarding working for overseas companies, and their response has always been clear: If the company provides no products or services in Singapore and/or has no legal presence in Singapore, then you don't even need a LOC for you are not working for a Singapore entity. You do still need to file income tax returns since you earn your pay while living in Singapore.

You can say that you are working for the US company, and even being paid by them but I don't think that will fly. There are lots of people in Singapore who work for wholly owned subsidiaries of American companies that are paid out of the American company budget. They still need EP's and they still pay Singapore personal income tax.

You would have a very large challenge proving that the remote work you did in no way affected the operations of the Singapore company, and I judge that MoM will simply refuse to open that can of worms for the reasons stated above.

Edited to add: You could work for the local Singapore company on a DP with a LOC but I bet you'll have to deal with a bunch of HR dunderheads in the Singapore office to get this sorted out. It would really be very simple. You are seconded to the Singapore company by the US company. The company applies for LOC. An accounting entry is setup so that the salary paid to you by the Singapore company is repaid by the American entity (or for that matter you can be paid directly by the American company into any bank account you want). Lots of MNC's put foreign employees into Singapore using this arrangement (on EP, generally, but the process is the same).

Edited again to add: In general, one always pays personal income taxes for earned income to the country in which you are living while the work is being performed. Therefore, you will pay Singapore income taxes, no matter the source of the income or your final legal status as elaborated above.

However, the USA is one of three (I think) countries that taxes its citizens on earned income, no matter where it is earned. This is mostly, or at least partially, offset by the foreign earned income exclusion, which is $102,100 for 2017. Be aware that your husband is in the same boat, and if you are married and filing jointly, things get more complicated. You'll really want a US based accountant to sort the bits and pieces.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9285
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby x9200 » Sat, 10 Jun 2017 7:42 am

I agree with SE above.
One can always claim working remotely while living in Singapore but the scope of this work would need to be such, that it doesn't affect the local office. This is IMHO hard to prove/control or may even be considered false by definition - it will always affect the local company to some extent.

User avatar
Strong Eagle
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10512
Joined: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Location: Off The Red Dot
Contact:

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 13 Jun 2017 9:30 pm

I am curious to know if your company has provided you with any additional information, and whether or not it aligns with my view of the situation.

wfhmom
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri, 09 Jun 2017

Re: Working remotely while living in SG and being paid in another country

Postby wfhmom » Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:47 pm

Thank you Strong Eagle for that detailed information.
I am still awaiting information from my company...i have heard there is some update while the legal team is working out the details. I will post once I hear the final outcome.


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Business in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests