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Singapore - Special considerations for short-term assignments

Special considerations for short-term assignments

Taxation of international executives

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Residency rules
Payroll considerations
Taxable income
Additional considerations

For the purposes of this publication, a short-term assignment is defined as an assignment that lasts for less than 1 year.

Residency rules

Are there special residency considerations for short-term assignments?

A non-resident individual, other than a director, exercising an employment in Singapore for not more than 60 days in a calendar year is exempt from tax on income arising from that short-term employment. If possible, it may be beneficial to structure short-term assignment such that the 60-day exemption applies.

Singapore currently has tax treaties with several countries/territories that may provide exemption for dependent services for short-term employment, subject to conditions.

Payroll considerations

Are there special payroll considerations for short-term assignments?

Tax treaty exemption would generally require that the payroll costs must not be borne by a permanent establishment in Singapore.

Taxable income

What income will be taxed during short-term assignments?

An employee who exercises employment in Singapore will be liable to Singapore income tax on the remuneration (including all benefits, whether in money or otherwise, unless they are specifically exempted from income tax or are covered by an existing administrative concession) payable to them for their services rendered in Singapore even though the remuneration may be paid outside Singapore.

Additional considerations

Are there any additional considerations that should be considered before initiating a short-term assignment in Singapore?

Where for certain reasons (e.g. length of assignment, cost-charging arrangements etc.) tax treaty exemption of the employment income in Singapore is not possible, careful planning of the short-term assignment start and end dates may result in tax savings.

Separately, there may be filing requirements to be fulfilled by the employer / employee pursuant to the short-term assignment, notwithstanding that tax-exemption may apply in accordance to the local tax laws or the double-taxation agreement.

© 2019 KPMG Services Pte Ltd (Registration No. 200003956G), a Singapore incorporated company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International cooperative, KPMG International. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity.  Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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