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Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

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Graphic design Mike
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Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Graphic design Mike » Wed, 16 Jan 2019 11:05 am

Hello, I'm on a DP here, having followed my spouse to Singapore a few years ago. My child being older and less in need of my attention, I'd like to keep busy with freelance work. I have no intention to do business with SG companies, as all my contacts are abroad. It will also remain a "part time freelancing" which is unlikely to generate more than $10000 /year. Mostly I just want to keep doing what I know, but at a slow pace, working for "pocket money".
I currently do not have a bank account in SG, nor do I plan to open one. The little money I'd make would end up on my foreign bank account.

So, from my limited understanding of what some Googling turned up, I don't need any official documentation to work, from SG, with only foreign companies. True or false?
I would still need to declare income and maybe pay taxes (I've read minimum taxable yearly income is $22000), but I have no idea how that would work, and whether I should declare here or in the country where my bank account is.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 16 Jan 2019 1:32 pm

The rules:

If you are not working for a company or individual that provides goods and services in Singapore or has any legal presence in Singapore, then you do not require a work permit of any sort to perform work for compensation while in Singapore. Example: I live in Singapore provide remote accounting services for a firm located in Denver, Colorado, which provides services only in Denver. I don't need a work permit of any sort. It does not matter where my bank account is, it does not matter what currency I am paid in.

By nearly global convention, EARNED income is taxed in the country in which you are resident while it is earned. Therefore, you would pay personal income tax on the money earned to IRAS in Singapore. Example: The Denver firm above would not issue me a 1099 US contractors form for services because I am a foreign individual. I would not pay US income tax, I would pay Singapore income tax.

The realities:

Singapore has no easy way to know if money you are receiving is earned income or passive income (rental income, for example). Therefore, it is your honesty that will cause you to file your earned income with the Singapore authorities. Under various tax compacts, it is nearly universal that governments want you to pay tax somewhere but some people cheat.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby emmvee » Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:29 pm

@Strong Eagle

While on a DP, does income from a blog requires a change in the type of pass I am holding? considering the income is generated via the following ways:
* as advertising revenue
* as consulting work (meetings & initial documentation)
* as freelance work engagement (project work or training assignment)

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 17 Jan 2019 10:36 pm

emmvee wrote:@Strong Eagle

While on a DP, does income from a blog requires a change in the type of pass I am holding? considering the income is generated via the following ways:
* as advertising revenue
* as consulting work (meetings & initial documentation)
* as freelance work engagement (project work or training assignment)


If you or your business provides goods and services in Singapore, then you need a work permit. If not, you only need to file income tax.

Websites can be trickier. If your blog is centered around mining for peat moss in Scotland, then it's probably not Singapore related. If your blog is about living in Singapore, then the issue becomes much more cloudy. You should contact MoM for a ruling. Both MoM and IRAS responded promptly when I sent them questions via email regarding work situations.

Be clear as to where your servers are located, who your intended audience is, and the subject matter to be covered. Also, if you are using Google ads, then content is not under your control.

The authorities really look at the work permit aspects of this from a common sense approach. Are you engaged in some form of employment which could affect the employment of a local?

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Graphic design Mike » Fri, 18 Jan 2019 12:56 pm

What if the foreign company sells products internationally? So of its customers could then be Singaporean. Where does that fit?
Thanks.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 18 Jan 2019 1:04 pm

Graphic design Mike wrote:What if the foreign company sells products internationally? So of its customers could then be Singaporean. Where does that fit?
Thanks.


Are you saying that the firm drop ships goods to Singapore such that end customers receive them through SingPost, UPS, DHL or some such?

Or are you saying that the company ships product to retailers in Singapore who then resell the goods?

If the former, then no issue, as the company is not doing business in Singapore, merely shipping goods to a Singapore address as a foreign entity. If the latter, then it's providing goods and services in Singapore.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 18 Jan 2019 9:53 pm

I may have to correct myself on that last item. If goods are only being shipped into Singapore and there is no other presence, I don't believe that company is "doing business" in Singapore. However, if that company were to have sales people that showed up in Singapore from time to time, that would be a different story.

MoM and ACRA both respond within a week or less if you provide them with specifics.

Graphic design Mike
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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Graphic design Mike » Fri, 18 Jan 2019 11:04 pm

I was thinking of a situation similar to shapeways.com. Design the 3d shape while in Singapore, upload it on shapeways, then get paid a share of the sale when someone (including potential Singaporean buyers) orders a print of one of your designs.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby little chicken » Sat, 09 Mar 2019 1:45 pm

Hello

I am based in Singapore and want to provide coaching and mentoring via web to international clients in the future. I will invoice clients from a company based outside Singapore.
I understand this should be ok from a visa pov. Can someone confirm?
Many thanks!

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 09 Mar 2019 2:02 pm

little chicken wrote:Hello

I am based in Singapore and want to provide coaching and mentoring via web to international clients in the future. I will invoice clients from a company based outside Singapore.
I understand this should be ok from a visa pov. Can someone confirm?
Many thanks!


What is your residential status in Singapore? Are you a citizen? PR? EP? DP? LTVP?

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby little chicken » Sat, 09 Mar 2019 2:08 pm

Hello - thanks for your fast answer
I am on DP - I have a LOC for now and I would like to complement my salary with additional work - outside my working hours.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 09 Mar 2019 2:19 pm

little chicken wrote:Hello - thanks for your fast answer
I am on DP - I have a LOC for now and I would like to complement my salary with additional work - outside my working hours.


Again, if you are not working for a company or individual that provides goods and services in Singapore or has any legal presence in Singapore, then you do not require a work permit of any sort to perform work for compensation while in Singapore.

It doesn't matter if you invoice from a company outside of Singapore or in Singapore, you are still liable to pay Singapore personal income tax on the money you receive from your business. If you invoice from the foreign company, then you would report your income from that company as either a registered or unregistered sole proprietorship.

Be clear that just because you invoice from a company outside of Singapore, you still cannot provide goods or services in Singapore. So, while you could have a Chinese based company ship a product to someone who ordered online in Singapore, you could not actually work with a client in Singapore.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby little chicken » Sat, 09 Mar 2019 4:32 pm

Thanks a lot for your answer - really appreciated.
Do you have an idea how I could legally provide services to clients in Singapore - given my situation?

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 09 Mar 2019 10:51 pm

little chicken wrote:Thanks a lot for your answer - really appreciated.
Do you have an idea how I could legally provide services to clients in Singapore - given my situation?


Yes, you form a Singapore business entity, probably a private limited. You apply for an EP from that company you formed, and now you work for it. Some people have managed to get a LOC from a sole proprietorship they formed but this seems to have become much more difficult to do.

This is not terribly easy to do as every Tom, Dick, and Harry from the region would all love to gain legal residence by starting a company. But, it can be done and there are many threads on this topic, including quite a few written by me.

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Re: Freelancing from sg with foreign entities only

Postby little chicken » Mon, 11 Mar 2019 8:57 am

Hello -thanks for your help here. I guess I have then to drop my current LOC with my current employer and see whether they will be willing to hire me as consultant to do the same job... do you know whether there is any advantage of doing such a thing for an employer? ( I guess beside not being part of their quota).
Another question (sorry if I abuse of your patience) - is it possible for my husband to create a business entity to get me a LOC? Thanks!!!!


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