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Is freelance considered working on a social visit?

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 2:45 pm

ksl wrote:
sms wrote:
You will be taxed on income earned for the period you rendered services in Singapore even if your employer is not a resident in Singapore, or your income is not paid in Singapore.


He's not working for an employer. You are correct however if he was employed and paid by the employer for acting as a representative, though a representative would be registered for business in Singapore.


Apparently the Singapore Gahmen don't see it the same way.

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Postby ksl » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 2:45 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The difference being?

When you are freelance it's not the same as being Self-Employed. Otherwise it would be called self employed. When you freelance, you are paid by the employer. If you "Invoice" the employer then you are self-employed.
Totally wrong! Freelance in the descriptive word

freelance
n. one who works for himself and is not employed on a salary basis for a single employer.

He is on a Short term visit pass and allowed to conduct his own business outside of Singapore while visiting, he is not delivering any work or service in Singapore or even earning income in Singapore, he is not breaking any laws.

If he was generating his leads outside of his home in Singapore, or advertising his service in Singapore, then it would be construed that he is doing business in Singapore. He is most definitely not and cannot be construed as employed if he is freelance it just wouldn't stand up in a court of law under the terminology of the word.

The biggest problem for Singapore is that freelance, is a word that doesn't exist under MOM rules & regulations, so if you want to Freelance here after the 183 day rule you still after register with IRAS as a formality of the tax laws, and you may have to register as a sole proprietor, which is self employed business. (which maybe difficult) Other than that he should stay 90 days here and 90 days in Italy before returning again to avoid the 183 day residential rule.

In UK for example you do not have to register at all as self employed you are freelance self employed you work on contract sum just like you would here in Singapore when tendering for work..you just pay your tax on earned income
Last edited by ksl on Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 2:51 pm

Fine by me. I suggest he goes into IRAS at Newton Road and asks them. Tell him to tell them he's been here 90 days and has earned 100K freelancing (performing the work here for a overseas employer - hell, call them a client if you wish). Then tell him to come back here and let us know what they say. That may well be the only way to get a definitive answer. I know what they said in the email that they sent me. Course that was 3 years ago. So times may have changed.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 2:52 pm

Better yet, tell them at IRAS that he's been here 190 days (should qualify him for resident tax rates if he's liable at all). :wink:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 2:54 pm

ksl wrote:freelance
n. one who works for himself and is not employed on a salary basis for a single employer.


Correct. Exactly what I said. They are on a piecework basis and not a salary basis. :P

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Postby ksl » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:25 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
ksl wrote:freelance
n. one who works for himself and is not employed on a salary basis for a single employer.


Correct. Exactly what I said. They are on a piecework basis and not a salary basis. :P
I think also SE will have tax free income when he works in Malaysia or Thailand, because the rules changed for overseas income, i don't think it has changed since 2004. They eased the tax rules so that rich people would be encouraged to move here, and still be able to conduct their business overseas and earn tax free income. Spending their money in Singapore!

The Op's situation is of course a fine line as we all know but we cannot assume they are breaking the law. Freelancing in this day and age is even more openly done over the Internet and is a minefield of legalities.
Last edited by ksl on Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:37 pm

ksl wrote:........he is not delivering any work or service in Singapore or even earning income in Singapore, he is not breaking any laws.

If he was generating his leads outside of his home in Singapore, or advertising his service in Singapore, then it would be construed that he is doing business in Singapore. He is most definitely not and cannot be construed as employed if he is freelance it just wouldn't stand up in a court of law under the terminology of the word.


So, then I, like hundreds of others, can be an web based Website developer with a .com website (not a .com.sg site) and could receive orders via my website as long as the order doesn't come from a Singapore registered company and not pay taxes in Singapore or anywhere else in the world even though I'm here doing visa runs every 90 days and go out for a 2 week holiday after each "freelance" job is finished.

Somehow, your explanation lacks something that I think IRAS is already on top of.

Oh, I'm ONLY speaking about IRAS. NOT MOM OR ACRA. They are two different kettles of fish. I know that they view it differently, but my answers are from a purely income tax POV.

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Postby Mad Scientist » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:47 pm

SMS, KSL, & Saint

I have read thru and see the link you guys attached. All of you are correct in every sense. Here is my 2 cents as I conduct business like KSL.
To my understanding as long as there are no money involved or exchange in any business activities be it in Singapore or Malaysia or even Thailand, you do not have to pay tax on it. The question is as what SMS said , how do you enforce it. Honestly you can't. The onus is on the party/ies involve to declare it. Be it freelancing or just conducting a business on social visit, there is no way IRA going to know unless there was a random spot check and you are caught with your pants down. Am I understanding this perfectly?
I have travel too many countries like every business man with just on social visit pass, close the deal and back home. Most countries will state you are not allowed to engage any business activities while on social visa on the embarkation card. Honestly how do you enforce it is another Q.
Nonetheless for OP case it is better for hubby to declare the tax here so as to smoothen the LTVSP pass application.
I stand to be corrected on this as I have been doing this for ages.
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Postby ksl » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:47 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
ksl wrote:........he is not delivering any work or service in Singapore or even earning income in Singapore, he is not breaking any laws.

If he was generating his leads outside of his home in Singapore, or advertising his service in Singapore, then it would be construed that he is doing business in Singapore. He is most definitely not and cannot be construed as employed if he is freelance it just wouldn't stand up in a court of law under the terminology of the word.


So, then I, like hundreds of others, can be an web based Website developer with a .com website (not a .com.sg site) and could receive orders via my website as long as the order doesn't come from a Singapore registered company and not pay taxes in Singapore or anywhere else in the world even though I'm here doing visa runs every 90 days and go out for a 2 week holiday after each "freelance" job is finished.

Somehow, your explanation lacks something that I think IRAS is already on top of.

Oh, I'm ONLY speaking about IRAS. NOT MOM OR ACRA. They are two different kettles of fish. I know that they view it differently, but my answers are from a purely income tax POV.
Well yes that is what I am saying, it depends on the address of your .com website and registered business if it is all registered with Singapore, you would be conducting business from Singapore... If your website was registered in Singapore, but your business registration was offshore or in a tax haven...then what? the tax man may like to get their hands on it.. it would be upto your good accounting abilities and legal adviser's right!

Why do thing Countries like Singapore have all these tax incentives to encourage the rich....do they care if the other Country tries hard to follow the wealth of the person, so they can claw back money....like the USA does all the time.....I wonder just how many Americans try to avoid the double taxation and succeed :lol:

Mad Scientist you are 100% correct, the onus is on the person to declare and its only when something goes wrong, that people are caught out. Just like many importers that have been caught out recently....I think 10 of them have been caught breaking AVA rules, only Two out of the 10 still insist it is not their responsibility. When AVA clearly states that it is the importers responsibility to ensure all procedures are legal

The onus is always on the person to declare, not the government organisation! :lol: So what happens is people analyze the risks and punishment involved to see what is acceptable and what isn't.
Last edited by ksl on Wed, 25 Aug 2010 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:59 pm

So, then, as a responsible member of the public and an acknowledged long time member of a reputable forum here in Singapore, should we give personal interpretations of the law or information or give the information that is according to the law here and let them use their own conscience or interpretation. :-|

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Postby ksl » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 4:04 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:So, then, as a responsible member of the public and an acknowledged long time member of a reputable forum here in Singapore, should we give personal interpretations of the law or information or give the information that is according to the law here and let them use their own conscience or interpretation. :-|
The laws can be ambiguous so you are right its better to tell them to go and ask at IRAS. We or most will interpret a law as we understand it, and that maybe wrong, so its better to have it in writing from the main authority :lol: :lol: You can be my accountant any day, you have the right kind of discipline which is good for non risk takers like bankers :P Ignorance is not bliss when caught with the pants down :)

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Postby Saint » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 4:14 pm

ksl wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:So, then, as a responsible member of the public and an acknowledged long time member of a reputable forum here in Singapore, should we give personal interpretations of the law or information or give the information that is according to the law here and let them use their own conscience or interpretation. :-|
The laws can be ambiguous so you are right its better to tell them to go and ask at IRAS. We or most will interpret a law as we understand it, and that maybe wrong, so its better to have it in writing from the main authority :lol: :lol: You can be my accountant any day, you have the right kind of discipline which is good for non risk takers like bankers :P Ignorance is not bliss when caught with the pants down :)


Which is exactly what Mrs S did and was told don't have declare the income for tax purposes.

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Postby Mad Scientist » Thu, 26 Aug 2010 2:58 am

grivoise wrote:Thank you all :)

Mad Scientist:
1. We've only been married a year.
2. I'm self-employed so I would have to state an annual income of about 40K. No joint savings account as I think it would be easier if he at least had a long-term pass before applying with me. He offered to show proof of tax returns from his home country but they were ambiguous about wanting to see it (aka, said to KIV???).
3. He has been here since last year, February. Leaving the country for up to 10 days before returning, and has always gotten a 90-day stay.

My brother face almost the same problems years ago. Moreover they have two boys borned overseas. Both children got their SG citizenship on the spot but the mom being a foreigner was denied even a LTVSP. You cannot get DP as DP is under EP holder which is thru MOM whereas LTVSP is thru ICA. So she was on 6 months short stay pass which was a pain in the bum. Got the MP to write a case for them. Only after three years his wife managed to get a LTVSP. She has now since got her PR after 5 yrs on LTVSP.
I would be incline to provide a supporting letter from MP, prop up joint account saving, his proof of salary in foreign country, tax proof. If you have kids it will make the case even stronger.Though they did not want to see it, just shove it in front of them to make your case stronger. Nowadays it is getting harder as "marriage of convenience is very rampant and ICA is clamping on this ruse. A concern for me on those 10 days run and back


They keep making appointments for me to see "officers". Initially I applied online, and while expecting to go down for an interview eventually (is this for everyone across the board?), I did not expect the person who called me back to tell me "because you are the wife so you must go down". I personally know of a man who is earning less than me and was able to get a pass for his wife. So I doubt it is my earning power in question, especially when I was prepared to put the "security deposit" if required. Also, I think I can only apply for a LTSVP and not a DP for him.

The length of being together is one of the reason for ICA to be concern as I mentioned earlier.


Now about freelancing and paying tax, I did call IRA on three different occasion on three separate Qs yesterday. Technically yes you have to pay tax as per the website.
If you are being paid here either on overseas contract or local while living or working here, you will have to declare your income. The question of not having an EP was not answered as he told me to direct it to MOM. If you are on short stay here for several months and not having income, the issue of sustainability will come to question so they said.
Lastly this lady said regarding the guideline on the same Q, she said if you are going to perform a free lance job and not sure if you are required to be tax or not, give them a call, if you are not required to pay tax, they will tell you so. "Come clean and we will spruce it up for you"
So bottom line is if not sure call IRA and clear with them.
Well for myself the law is there to follow, how you interprete it is a separate matter.
@OP , I hope this is enough for you to go forward

Good Luck
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 26 Aug 2010 7:05 am

MS,

That dovetails exactly with the email that I referred to earlier when I contacted them. Thanks.

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Postby grivoise » Fri, 10 Sep 2010 4:14 am

onetheless for OP case it is better for hubby to declare the tax here so as to smoothen the LTVSP pass application.
I stand to be corrected on this as I have been doing this for ages.



If you are being paid here either on overseas contract or local while living or working here, you will have to declare your income. The question of not having an EP was not answered as he told me to direct it to MOM. If you are on short stay here for several months and not having income, the issue of sustainability will come to question so they said.
Lastly this lady said regarding the guideline on the same Q, she said if you are going to perform a free lance job and not sure if you are required to be tax or not, give them a call, if you are not required to pay tax, they will tell you so. "Come clean and we will spruce it up for you"
So bottom line is if not sure call IRA and clear with them.
Well for myself the law is there to follow, how you interprete it is a separate matter.
@OP , I hope this is enough for you to go forward


But to declare taxes would bring another question, as he would technically need some form of work permit/EP in order to even work here???


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