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Questions about working remotely from Singapore

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gamemaker
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Questions about working remotely from Singapore

Postby gamemaker » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 5:48 pm

Greetings,

I will be relocating in October to Singapore from Seattle with my wife accompanying me on a dependent pass. We are both US citizens. In Seattle, my wife (a SW developer) has been working remotely (from home) for her employer for the past 8 years and they have no problem with her working from Singapore. We have a few questions for anybody else on this forum who are working remotely or have considered working remotely.
1. Are home broadband speeds in Singapore comparable to cable broadband in the US?
2. Are we breaking any legal and tax rules as far as the Govt. of Singapore is concerned with my wife being payed in the US for work done for a US company in Seattle while being a resident of Singapore?

Thanks.

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sierra2469alpha
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Postby sierra2469alpha » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 6:09 pm

Hi guys and best of luck with your move.

I cannot answer the second question - we have highly more qualified people in terms of tax on this forum than this old bugger.

That being said, have a bit of a look through the forums here - the Search function up above, as your questions have been covered quite thoroughly in recent times :)

With some authority, I can answer your first question - home broadband speeds. I also remotely work - have sites in the USA and EU - and we went with Starhub MaxOnline (allegidely 100mbps). However, that's not the case. Outbound speeds are ok - I get about 2mbps, but download speeds are horrendous. In fact I wonder why I am paying the money I do for MaxOnline. It's not just a StarHub issue - it's a general issue - there's a bit of a bandwidth issue running out of your home (residential here). Business connections are a little faster, so I have been told however I cannot confirm that.

Please don't hesitate to come on back and ask more questions!

Cheers! P

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Postby woozel » Tue, 19 Aug 2008 2:38 pm

Hi

Did you have any luck with finding out answers to your questions (in particular the tax side of things)? We are in a similar situation and I had a quick look through this forum, but didn't see anything jumping out at me....

Perhaps need to spend longer on this, but thought I would try here first.

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sierra2469alpha
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Postby sierra2469alpha » Tue, 19 Aug 2008 3:13 pm

Hey Woozel - noticed you are from Oz also.

The Australia Channel up here advertises two organisations that seem to provide tax and financial planning:

www.smats.net
www.ipac.com.sg

I haven't dealt with them, so I can't comment on their services.

HTH, P

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 Aug 2008 4:35 pm

I don't think there will be any issue at all with your wife working from home because you leave no Singapore footprint and as far as I can tell, violate no Singapore tax laws (I am not a lawyer - this is not tax advice).

First, you are not required to declare income or pay tax on foreign earned income if taxes are paid on the income elsewhere in the world. Thus, income from my rental properties in the US does not show up on my Singapore tax form. It would seem to be the same for you... earning income in the US and paying US taxes.

Second, you are not working in Singapore, that is, you are not holding a Singapore job that pays in Singapore dollars, that could potentially displace a Singaporean, and that would require a work permit. Nor are you running a business that would require ACRA registration.

Third, you are well under the radar. Since you have no interaction with Singapore banks, businesses, or tax authorities, how would you be found out, if there were a problem in the first place?

Finally, given the much better tax rates in Singapore for both you and your company, I'd look into setting a business up here. I think you could easily be approved, be paid in Singapore and pay Singapore tax rates.

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Postby Stoven » Thu, 21 Aug 2008 11:11 am

SE,

So if you are a U.S. citizen working in Singapore and paid by a U.S. company you do not get any U.S. tax exemptions? But if you are paid by a foreign company you can get the $82k tax exemption?

How will setting up a business here help? Do you have to register your company and have your employer pay the company in USD and then have your company pay your salary in SGD?

I am just curious because I am looking into possibly working remotely in Singapore for a U.S. company. I would be working like a contractor. So if I setup a small contractor company and have my employer pay the company and not me directly I can take advantage of the tax exemption?

Thanks,

Steve

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 21 Aug 2008 11:26 am

Stoven wrote:SE,

So if you are a U.S. citizen working in Singapore and paid by a U.S. company you do not get any U.S. tax exemptions? But if you are paid by a foreign company you can get the $82k tax exemption?

How will setting up a business here help? Do you have to register your company and have your employer pay the company in USD and then have your company pay your salary in SGD?

I am just curious because I am looking into possibly working remotely in Singapore for a U.S. company. I would be working like a contractor. So if I setup a small contractor company and have my employer pay the company and not me directly I can take advantage of the tax exemption?

Thanks,

Steve


There are a couple of approaches which could be taken to reduce tax. In the first case, the company itself would incorporate a wholly owned subsidiary here in Singapore, a private limited. The Singapore company would then hire/transfer the employee, pay her wages, CPF, medical, etc in Singapore. She could take the earned income exclusion.

For this to work, the US company would need to be willing to do this, and have some knowledge of how to do it, and of course would have to account for the subsidiary on their books.

The other option would be for the employee to become a contractor to the company. One files an Entrepass application to provide professional software services, noting that a) You already have the contract in line, b) No Singapore job is affected, and c) You will be paying taxes, using Singapore banks, etc. No telling how MOM works but I think this would fly.

The US company would be invoiced and would pay to your Singapore company's bank via wire transfer. You would be responsible for your own medical, CPF, etc, expenses of running the company, etc, and should be reflected in your rate.

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Postby Stoven » Thu, 21 Aug 2008 11:52 am

If I have Singapore PR would I still need to apply for an Entrepass?

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 21 Aug 2008 4:37 pm

Stoven wrote:If I have Singapore PR would I still need to apply for an Entrepass?


No, if you are PR you are free to start whatever business you want simply by registering with ACRA.


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