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Had an offer for a job in Singapore...

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blueboy17
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Had an offer for a job in Singapore...

Postby blueboy17 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 9:43 am

Firstly, I would like to thank all of the posters on here both regular and non regular. I have been browsing the forums for the past couple of weeks trying to gather as much information as I can. There are some questions that I have that are specific to my situation I was hoping somebody could help me with.

I have been offered S$6000 a month in addition to medical, a furnished apartment and flights at the start and end of my contract. I have also been offered a $3000 moving allowance and 20% gratuity. My wife and I currently live in Taipei and we would be hoping to maintain our standard of living. So bearing in mind the S$6000 a month and with accomodation being provided how would it go to covering this scenario (I will try to be as specific as possible so you can make a fair judgement):

Usual ammenities - mobile, broadband, cable (with football package!), utilities etc
one night out a week (usually just a few beers but with the odd big one)
holiday at least three times a year in Asia
flights back to the UK once a year
cleaner once a week
mixture of eating in and out (although we don't have expensive tastes when it comes to food)

To sum it up, we want to maintain a good lifestyle without having to penny pinch although I do want to be sensible about our money. As it stands my wife will not be working but the hope would be that if/when she got a job that money could be our savings along with my gratuity.

Regarding my wife, from what I can make out she would be eligible for a dependant visa if I were to accept the job and would be able to work so long as she got a letter of consent authorised. Is this easily done and are employers generally willing to do this? My wife is a kindegarten teacher so would be hoping to find work as soon as possible.

Thank you for all of your help.

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Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:06 pm

Prices can vary on each of those things quite widely. However I would say that most likely you would have no problem meeting the life style you describe on $6k/month with no housing, vehicle, or private tuition costs. (those are the big three killers for most expats).

Not sure what "20% gratuity" is. Is this a bonus on top of your salary? One-time payout? Or something else?

For your line items..

1) I'd guess $300-600 depending on your TV package and how much you use A/C. I pay $180 a month for Singtel which covers the fastest non-fiber internet package, their basic TV package, and two of the "~55/month" cell phone plans, which is what I gather most people here take. You'd need to add more for their football package. Not sure how much more it is. My power and water bill hovers between 110-150 a month for 70sq/meter unit. We wash clothes every day and use the aircon about 30-50% of the time when we go to sleep.

2) If you don't mind using Groupon or looking for sales online, this can be really cheap for two people.

3) Not sure how much.

4) edit: Oops, I thought he meant dry cleaner. as addressed below, a cleaner for the house is cheap.

5) Again varies widely depending on hawker food to fancy dine in. $6-10 for 2 at a hawker center, $40-60 for two at a "mid grade" eat out restaurant (say, Din Tai Fung), and $100+ for two at a nice place. Not including drinks. Those are expensive.
Last edited by zzm9980 on Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Had an offer for a job in Singapore...

Postby nutnut » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:15 pm

blueboy17 wrote:Firstly, I would like to thank all of the posters on here both regular and non regular. I have been browsing the forums for the past couple of weeks trying to gather as much information as I can. There are some questions that I have that are specific to my situation I was hoping somebody could help me with.

I'll try here!

I have been offered S$6000 a month in addition to medical, a furnished apartment and flights at the start and end of my contract. I have also been offered a $3000 moving allowance and 20% gratuity. My wife and I currently live in Taipei and we would be hoping to maintain our standard of living. So bearing in mind the S$6000 a month and with accomodation being provided how would it go to covering this scenario (I will try to be as specific as possible so you can make a fair judgement):

Usual ammenities - mobile, broadband, cable (with football package!), utilities etc - You can do this for $200-$500 depending upon your requirements for speeds, calls and TV! You should go for Singtel for all if you mainly watch sport as MIO has the BPL. (I assume you mean football and not American football)
one night out a week (usually just a few beers but with the odd big one)

Can cost from $50 ina hawker for a few beers and some food - $200+ for a big night out in Boat Quay or somewhere similarly expensive

holiday at least three times a year in Asia

depends where you want them, but, travelling is cheap in Asia!

flights back to the UK once a year - This is expensive, but once a year not impossible!
cleaner once a week This will cost around $15-$20 an hour
mixture of eating in and out (although we don't have expensive tastes when it comes to food) depending on your kind of food, if you like and can eat local grub, eating out can be as little as a few $'s each, western food can cost a hell of a lot more! also, depends on where you shop, markets and local foods cost less, Cold Storage and Carrefour shopping costs more if you buy western stuff! We spend $300 a week for a family of 4 though, so $1000 a month wil easily cover you for most stuff!

To sum it up, we want to maintain a good lifestyle without having to penny pinch although I do want to be sensible about our money. As it stands my wife will not be working but the hope would be that if/when she got a job that money could be our savings along with my gratuity.

Regarding my wife, from what I can make out she would be eligible for a dependant visa if I were to accept the job and would be able to work so long as she got a letter of consent authorised. Is this easily done and are employers generally willing to do this? My wife is a kindegarten teacher so would be hoping to find work as soon as possible.

Not sure about this, but there are roles in Internaitonal schools out here, you should get her to look at the Kindergarten sections of these schools, also local schools look for this too. Yes she can sork on a DP with LOC, with you rate of pay you'd be on a P2 pass and thus shouldn't have any issue! as long as you get your pass of course :)

Thank you for all of your help.


You are very welcome, good luck!
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Postby blueboy17 » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 1:40 pm

Thank you for the information, it has certainly made me feel a lot easier about a potential move. I have an interview here in the next week which I will got to before making my final decision, luckily my potential employers in Singapore have given me a couple of weeks to make a decision,

Regarding the gratuity, that is 20% of my salary payable at the end of my contract. They also mentioned a bonus of one month's salary but not sure what I would have to do to qualify for that as I work in an advisory role rather than any sort of sales or profit related role.

I like the sound of having all of the internet, tv and mobile from one supplier in one package, sounds like it will make things a lot easier.

We are aware that we would have to adjust our lifestyle a bit if we make the move from Taiwan as things are relatively cheap here (compared to HK and Japan anyway!) but both of us feel Singapore would be a better place for us at the moment so are quite keen for it to happen.

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Postby nutnut » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 3:13 pm

20% gratuity sounds good, and a month bonus (often called a 13th month bonus) is fairly common, this would probably pay your taxes for the year, but still remember to save up for the end of the year just in case ;)
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Postby aster » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 9:24 am

The biggest cost of living here is generally going to be the apartment, so if that is covered then you look set.

Just out of curiosity, have they given you a housing allowance (in which case you might want to check how far this will take you...) or proposed a specific unit to you?

Keep in mind that fringe benefits are taxed in Singapore, so I think the housing costs will be taxed as if you earned the money and spent it on rental.

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Postby blueboy17 » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 5:58 pm

The contract offer says it comes with a furnished flat, bummer about having to pay tax on it but that is to be expected I suppose.

I am currently trying to find out more specifics related to location and quality etc but the guy I met at my interview seemed happy with his, but then it was an interview so he may have said he was happy whatever!

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 9:24 pm

Taxs are low here, I woudn't worry much.

http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page04.aspx?id=1190

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Postby blueboy17 » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 10:39 pm

Thanks for the link, one quick question regarding the tax, it mentions the resident and non resident tax rate and says to qualify for the resident tax rate I have to meet the following criteria:

Different tax rates apply for tax residents and non-residents. You will be treated as a tax resident for a particular Year of Assessment (YA) if you are a:

Singaporean; or
Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) if you have established your permanent home in Singapore; or
Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year (excludes director of a company).
Otherwise, you will be treated as a non-resident of Singapore for tax purposes.


Does anyone know if this refers to the financial or calendar year? As I would be potentially moving at the end of July I am trying to work out if this would effect my tax amount for the first one or two years.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 20 Mar 2012 11:32 pm

blueboy17 wrote:Thanks for the link, one quick question regarding the tax, it mentions the resident and non resident tax rate and says to qualify for the resident tax rate I have to meet the following criteria:

Different tax rates apply for tax residents and non-residents. You will be treated as a tax resident for a particular Year of Assessment (YA) if you are a:

Singaporean; or
Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) if you have established your permanent home in Singapore; or
Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year (excludes director of a company).
Otherwise, you will be treated as a non-resident of Singapore for tax purposes.


Does anyone know if this refers to the financial or calendar year?

They're the same thing in Singapore.

As I would be potentially moving at the end of July I am trying to work out if this would effect my tax amount for the first one or two years.

Say you start work on on July 31st 2012, then for 2012 you'll be treated as Non-Res, and Res for 2013 and any subsequent years in which you stay/work in country more than 183 days.



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Postby curiousgeorge » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 7:52 am

JR8 wrote:
blueboy17 wrote:Thanks for the link, one quick question regarding the tax, it mentions the resident and non resident tax rate and says to qualify for the resident tax rate I have to meet the following criteria:

Different tax rates apply for tax residents and non-residents. You will be treated as a tax resident for a particular Year of Assessment (YA) if you are a:

Singaporean; or
Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) if you have established your permanent home in Singapore; or
Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year (excludes director of a company).
Otherwise, you will be treated as a non-resident of Singapore for tax purposes.


Does anyone know if this refers to the financial or calendar year?

They're the same thing in Singapore.

As I would be potentially moving at the end of July I am trying to work out if this would effect my tax amount for the first one or two years.

Say you start work on on July 31st 2012, then for 2012 you'll be treated as Non-Res, and Res for 2013 and any subsequent years in which you stay/work in country more than 183 days.




Sorry JR8, that's not quite right about tax resident status.

If he starts 31st July, then yeah technically they will begin to process him as a non-res in January. But we know the assessment isn't complete until March/April.

So in Feb, he writes to IRAS and tells them he has been here for >6 months and would like his assessment for 2012 to be recalculated on that basis.

He should still get his assessment at the same time in March/April, but it will be as a tax resident.

Source: My own experience starting here in November 2008 and my 2008 tax return. Originally calculated as non-res, then recalculated at my request, as a resident, in April 2009.

In this instance "Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year" just means the preceding 12 months, not the calendar or financial year.

I would still encourage a newbie to save 17% + flights home in any case, you never know if you might need to make a fast exit.

Oh, and always plan for the fact that your last month's salary will be withheld by your employer until your tax liability is settled with IRAS - depending on your company's pay cycle this could take a couple of months to catch up with you, even if you pay taxes on time.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 9:26 am

We have found in the last two years that if you have been here less than the required 183 days, as long as you are still on a valid Employment Pass of a minimum of 12 months duration, IRAS will compute it automatically as a resident instead of using the resident rates. So, submit with the thoughts of having to pay the non-resident rates and then be pleasantly surprised when the tax bill comes using resident rates.

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Postby nutnut » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 9:37 am

curiousgeorge wrote:
JR8 wrote:
blueboy17 wrote:Thanks for the link, one quick question regarding the tax, it mentions the resident and non resident tax rate and says to qualify for the resident tax rate I have to meet the following criteria:

Different tax rates apply for tax residents and non-residents. You will be treated as a tax resident for a particular Year of Assessment (YA) if you are a:

Singaporean; or
Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) if you have established your permanent home in Singapore; or
Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year (excludes director of a company).
Otherwise, you will be treated as a non-resident of Singapore for tax purposes.


Does anyone know if this refers to the financial or calendar year?

They're the same thing in Singapore.

As I would be potentially moving at the end of July I am trying to work out if this would effect my tax amount for the first one or two years.

Say you start work on on July 31st 2012, then for 2012 you'll be treated as Non-Res, and Res for 2013 and any subsequent years in which you stay/work in country more than 183 days.




Sorry JR8, that's not quite right about tax resident status.

If he starts 31st July, then yeah technically they will begin to process him as a non-res in January. But we know the assessment isn't complete until March/April.

So in Feb, he writes to IRAS and tells them he has been here for >6 months and would like his assessment for 2012 to be recalculated on that basis.

He should still get his assessment at the same time in March/April, but it will be as a tax resident.

Source: My own experience starting here in November 2008 and my 2008 tax return. Originally calculated as non-res, then recalculated at my request, as a resident, in April 2009.

In this instance "Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year" just means the preceding 12 months, not the calendar or financial year.



+1 same for me when I came here in the September!!!!
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Postby JR8 » Wed, 21 Mar 2012 4:36 pm

curiousgeorge wrote:Sorry JR8, that's not quite right about tax resident status.

Oops, my mistake :oops:


...So in Feb, he writes to IRAS and tells them he has been here for >6 months and would like his assessment for 2012 to be recalculated on that basis.

OIC, I never knew it worked like that!

In this instance "Foreigner who stayed/worked in Singapore for 183 days or more in previous year" just means the preceding 12 months, not the calendar or financial year.

Yep, that seems to be the nub of it

I would still encourage a newbie to save 17% + flights home in any case, you never know if you might need to make a fast exit.

Oh, and always plan for the fact that your last month's salary will be withheld by your employer until your tax liability is settled with IRAS - depending on your company's pay cycle this could take a couple of months to catch up with you, even if you pay taxes on time.

In my case my US-MNC employer withheld my last months pay while Deloitte's calculated my tax liability. I was told I would be getting the net back in due course. So you can imagine my surprise when they chased me a year+ later for further funds. They were STILL chasing me across continents 5 years after I left (so SGn what). I did eventually pay up, and in retrospect it is probably a bloody good job that I did.




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Postby blueboy17 » Thu, 22 Mar 2012 1:18 pm

The information on the tax status (resident/non resident) is very useful guys, thank you. Sounds like a good idea to save as though I am a non resident and then be pleasantly surprised if I'm taxed as a resident!


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