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Physician in US considering Move to Singapore

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 01 Jun 2013 8:20 pm

BedokAmerican wrote: Also, you probably already know that 12.5% of your annual income here up to $113,700 USD, which is about $14,000, must be paid each year into the US Social Security system.


Must? I've never paid, I've never seen anything that told me I was required to pay, and two different expat specializing US Tax Preparers (PWC and Artio, who advertises on this forum) did not say a peep about being required to pay SS.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 01 Jun 2013 8:25 pm

Found this. Here are the conditions under which you must continue to pay US Social Security:

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Internat ... ing-Abroad

This will not apply to most of us, unless you're working for the US Gov, or a US Company based here (not a subsidiary like most of us, but the actual company). And in the latter case, they almost certainly pay you in the US and withhold all of that already anyway.

I'd be very interested to hear about anyone here who doesn't meet the above and is still paying SS.


Here is a post in another forum which re-affirms what I said:
http://forums.immigration.com/showthrea ... dicare-tax

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 01 Jun 2013 10:36 pm

zzm9980 wrote:No. Capital gains aren't even taxable in Singapore. Dividends are though, but there will not be a mandatory withholding for CPF from them.


Not correct. The profits of a company are taxable to the company. Dividends can only be paid from profits, never paid up capital.

Dividends paid to shareholders are distinctly not taxable to the shareholder in Singapore because the company has already paid taxes on the profits. However, if you are an American, the dividends must be reported on your 1040A and are not subject to the earned income exclusion.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 01 Jun 2013 10:40 pm

BedokAmerican wrote:As a side note (and you might already know this), there are some US tax preparers in Singapore. On the US embassy's web site, there is a list. Also, you probably already know that 12.5% of your annual income here up to $113,700 USD, which is about $14,000, must be paid each year into the US Social Security system.


This is not correct. If you are being paid by a US firm in the USA, then your income is subject to social security and medicare taxes, and it works just like it does in the USA... you pay half, the employer pays half.

If you are receiving your income from a foreign corporation, and you are not normally resident for tax purposes (the same rule that applies to the earned income exclusion) then you don't pay social security or medicare taxes at all.

I know this to be true on a personal basis... I filed eight years of USA tax returns, used a CPA to do it, and never paid a penny in social security taxes.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 01 Jun 2013 11:55 pm

I've been here 30 years and only had to pay SS taxes for 4 years from 1988~1991 because I was working for a US company here (Joint Voluntary Agencies under the auspices of the UNHCR administering the VN Refugee Program here) I was also paid IN Singapore but in US dollars as well. Otherwise, I file my 1040 and ancillary stmts/forms every year, but I'm not subject of SS taxes at all. In fact I should have started drawing SS but have opted to wait till I hit 70 before starting.

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Postby Sooner8 » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 1:00 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've been here 30 years and only had to pay SS taxes for 4 years from 1988~1991 because I was working for a US company here (Joint Voluntary Agencies under the auspices of the UNHCR administering the VN Refugee Program here) I was also paid IN Singapore but in US dollars as well. Otherwise, I file my 1040 and ancillary stmts/forms every year, but I'm not subject of SS taxes at all. In fact I should have started drawing SS but have opted to wait till I hit 70 before starting.


Come Jan 2014, how will FATCA (since SIN has acquiesced to the mighty Uncle Sam) affect US expats who still have to file 1040s as citizens?
‘While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?' Indeed.

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Postby Sooner8 » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 1:01 am

zzm9980 wrote:
Sooner8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:If you become a PR, you must contribute to CPF. Your contribution ramps up over three years, to a maximum of 20% of the first $5000 per month. So $1k a month.


What if someone, lives off dividends and/or cap gains? Is the 20% CPF contribution still paid on the 1st $5000 income even though it did not come from salaried compensation?


No. Capital gains aren't even taxable in Singapore. Dividends are though, but there will not be a mandatory withholding for CPF from them.


Thank you for this clarification
‘While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?' Indeed.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 1:14 am

Sooner8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:
Sooner8 wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:If you become a PR, you must contribute to CPF. Your contribution ramps up over three years, to a maximum of 20% of the first $5000 per month. So $1k a month.


What if someone, lives off dividends and/or cap gains? Is the 20% CPF contribution still paid on the 1st $5000 income even though it did not come from salaried compensation?


No. Capital gains aren't even taxable in Singapore. Dividends are though, but there will not be a mandatory withholding for CPF from them.


Thank you for this clarification


Dividends from Singapore companies are not taxable in Singapore.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:27 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've been here 30 years and only had to pay SS taxes for 4 years from 1988~1991 because I was working for a US company here (Joint Voluntary Agencies under the auspices of the UNHCR administering the VN Refugee Program here) I was also paid IN Singapore but in US dollars as well. Otherwise, I file my 1040 and ancillary stmts/forms every year, but I'm not subject of SS taxes at all. In fact I should have started drawing SS but have opted to wait till I hit 70 before starting.


Since you've been here most of your life, are there any significant benefits even waiting for you?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:42 am

Significant? From the US SS administration? Nah, but it'll go a lot further over here than it will there. But yeah, I maxed out my contribution for the required number of quarters there before leaving the US. I came here when I was 36. :-)

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Postby Wd40 » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 2:21 pm

Sooner8 wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've been here 30 years and only had to pay SS taxes for 4 years from 1988~1991 because I was working for a US company here (Joint Voluntary Agencies under the auspices of the UNHCR administering the VN Refugee Program here) I was also paid IN Singapore but in US dollars as well. Otherwise, I file my 1040 and ancillary stmts/forms every year, but I'm not subject of SS taxes at all. In fact I should have started drawing SS but have opted to wait till I hit 70 before starting.


Come Jan 2014, how will FATCA (since SIN has acquiesced to the mighty Uncle Sam) affect US expats who still have to file 1040s as citizens?


Oh! now that you brought up FATCA, I google'd and found meaning. I have been hearing, guys in my bank's private banking IT division using this word, ever so often. The word is kind of funny and it becomes funnier when Indians use that word, because it has a completely funny meaning in Hindi :lol:

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Postby CitizenOfTheWorld » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 2:31 pm

Brah wrote:
CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:Thank you all for your input and perspective on a potentially life changing decision.

My question to you still is, it the push to leave there so strong, or is it the pull to come, or both?

I have what is probably a skewed view, and not sure how accurate it is, but although I've been hearing that the economy there is getting better, it still seems shaky to me, as in too shaky to go back without incurring a lot of risk. Plus you said you were doing well there.

Not to put you off an international jaunt, which is usually a Good Thing, but there is return risk.


For moves such as these, reasons are complex and numerous. And sometimes vague. There are both positive reasons (things I like about Singapore/Asia) and negative reasons (things I dislike about the United States.)

It seems to me that non-democratic Singapore is in many ways more free than the democratic United States. (correct me if you think I'm wrong.)

A lot of the aforementioned disadvantages to Singapore are ones I would face if I moved to New York City or Chicago: very expensive housing, lack of car, dependence on public transport, extreme weather (just substitute monsoons for hurricanes and snow storms)

The reduction in pay is probably what I would face if I moved from private practice, where I am now, to an academic/teaching hospital in the States (which is where I would be at in Singapore)

In all honesty, I was in Singapore for barely a week. I liked it, but there is no way to be sure until I live there, and by then it will be too late. Still, how many members of the SE board had a chance to live in Singapore before actually moving there? It seems, most of you just had to make your choice and take your chances same as me.

Thanks again for all the info and...
P.S. I'm curious if anyone here has (or knows someone who has) obtained full Singaporean citizenship and passport from the US/Western Europe/Australia. If so, what was the expatriation like emotionally?
"Democracy is also a form of religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
H.L. Mencken

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Postby Brah » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 8:19 pm

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:For moves such as these, reasons are complex and numerous. And sometimes vague. There are both positive reasons (things I like about Singapore/Asia) and negative reasons (things I dislike about the United States.)

And what are those, the latter?

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:It seems to me that non-democratic Singapore is in many ways more free than the democratic United States. (correct me if you think I'm wrong.)

I've been here a few years and I think you're wrong.

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:A lot of the aforementioned disadvantages to Singapore are ones I would face if I moved to New York City or Chicago: very expensive housing, lack of car, dependence on public transport, extreme weather (just substitute monsoons for hurricanes and snow storms)

You can have a car in NY, to work in the city you don't need to live there.

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:The reduction in pay is probably what I would face if I moved from private practice, where I am now, to an academic/teaching hospital in the States (which is where I would be at in Singapore)

Not sure about your industry but I'd say a strong probability of probably, considering the double taxation and weaker currency.

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:In all honesty, I was in Singapore for barely a week. I liked it, but there is no way to be sure until I live there, and by then it will be too late. Still, how many members of the SE board had a chance to live in Singapore before actually moving there? It seems, most of you just had to make your choice and take your chances same as me.

I did the same and felt the same, went back to where I was, moved countries, and was miserable. I've since changed from miserable to tolerant to occasionally liking it. No place is perfect.

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:P.S. I'm curious if anyone here has (or knows someone who has) obtained full Singaporean citizenship and passport from the US/Western Europe/Australia. If so, what was the expatriation like emotionally?

I know an American who did, who has been here for years, married to a local with kids who grew up here, plus he's at retirement age so his is probably a slightly different demographic from yours. He's happy but no idea what he went through. I've lost touch with him so unlikely to find out.

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Postby Sooner8 » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:36 pm

Brah wrote:

CitizenOfTheWorld wrote:It seems to me that non-democratic Singapore is in many ways more free than the democratic United States. (correct me if you think I'm wrong.)

I've been here a few years and I think you're wrong.



Democracy is the dictatorship of the mob. And the US is one election away from just that. Already, assaults on 1st and 2nd amendment rights are a daily happening. 1st Amendment works only if you agree with the mob and 2nd Amendment being assaulted to impose the tyranny of the mob.

The numbers of US citizens (expats or otherwise) going through citizen renunciation is increasing, driven in part by the looming FATCA overreach of the IRS.

My understanding of SIN politics is that it is essentially a one-party benevolence. But, reading this forum has proved valuable in finding out that an opposition is forming driven perhaps by xenophobia. But, at least the govt wants to keep SIN as a shining business beacon. The US has willfully, with its very large no to low-info voters (with attendant voter fraud), has taken the path to class warfare.
Last edited by Sooner8 on Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
‘While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?' Indeed.

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Postby Sooner8 » Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:40 pm

Wd40 wrote:
Sooner8 wrote:
Come Jan 2014, how will FATCA (since SIN has acquiesced to the mighty Uncle Sam) affect US expats who still have to file 1040s as citizens?


The word is kind of funny and it becomes funnier when Indians use that word, because it has a completely funny meaning in Hindi :lol:


Pray tell. Inquiring minds want to know. As bad as FATCA is and, likely to be copied by other profligate nanny states, at least a linguistic laugh is not that bad. :lol:
‘While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?' Indeed.


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