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How To Obtain Tax Residence Certificate In Singapore?

Posted by hariimc on September 5th, 2020

Obtaining a tax residency certificate in Singapore

If you own a business and want to get a tax residency certificate in Singapore, keep in mind that you and the management team would have to stay in Singapore. This is because the control and the management of the company must be based in Singapore. What this means is that you would either have to have the management office and a substantial part of operations based in Singapore, or your headquarters would need to be based in Singapore.

In case you’re wondering, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is the entity that determines if your business qualifies for a tax residency certificate based on where its operations and management team are based. Some factors that the IRAS uses to determine if your company qualifies are:

  • If the decision making on strategic matters is based in Singapore
  • Where the Board of Directors meetings takes place
  • Where the essential business functions take place

Obtaining a Singapore Certificate of Residence

If you own a business that has any part of its operations in Singapore, you likely found the information in the previous section to be very informative. But what if you live (or want to live) in Singapore. Would you be able to avoid double taxation and/or realize tax benefits/breaks in Singapore? The answer is, “Yes!” The reasons why are discussed below.

Singapore has tax treaties with a number of other nations around the world. This allows these nationals to do business in Singapore with various tax reductions and benefits. They can enjoy a tax rate of only 5.6% on the first 0,000 of profit. This is especially true if their company is an Exempted Private Limited Company. Those individuals who are able to obtain a Certificate of Residence (COR) are also eligible for many government grants and other related funds.

If you want a COR for your business, you have to prove to the IRAS that the management and control of your business are based in Singapore. Keep in mind though, that it’s not always easy to get approval from the IRAS. The IRAS has to see that the basic requirements are absolutely being met. If you do qualify for the COR, remember that it is only valid for one fiscal year.

Tax Residency Certificate forms in Singapore

A Tax Residency Certificate in Singapore states that your company officially resides in Singapore and can qualify for certain tax privileges. The management control must be in Singapore. It also helps to have some operations in Singapore. While it may seem that having this certificate is a corporate formality, it is really not. Having this certificate makes your company eligible to avoid double taxation. Singapore has Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with 90 other sovereign nations.

Note that you can still get a COR even if you are not eligible or applying for DTA or a Limited Treaty. You simply send the following information into the IRAS: 

  • Your company’s name and Unique Entity Number (UEN)
  • Reasons why you want a COR
  • Proof that your company’s management and control is Singapore based
  • The calendar year which you will need the letter for

Process for Certificate of Residency in Singapore

Follow these steps (they are on the IRAS website) to apply for a COR:

All COR applications have to be e-Filed via myTax Portal. Except for specific circumstances, paper applications will no longer be accepted.

 You can apply for COR via myTax Portal for:

  1. the current calendar year; or
  2. up to four back calendar years.  

For example, in the calendar year 2020, the company may apply for a COR for the calendar years 2016 to 2020.  

The COR is granted to the company for the calendar year only if the control and management of its business is exercised in Singapore in the specified calendar year. If the COR is granted for the calendar year 2020, it means that the company is a tax resident of Singapore throughout the calendar year 2020.

The company will need to authorise its staff or a third party (e.g. tax agent) for Corporate Tax (Filing and Applications) in CorpPass before the staff / the third party can log in and apply for COR on behalf of the company. For assistance on CorpPass setup, please refer to the relevant Step-by-Step Guides.

IRAS will process your application within 7 working days of receiving the application and mail the COR to the company's registered address. Please allow up to 4 working days to receive it in your mail.

Once your application is processed (within 7 working days), a duplicate copy of the approved COR will be made available in myTax Portal. You will also have the option to print or download the approved COR.

Specific Circumstances to Apply for COR in Writing

This is only applicable for companies that are:

  • applying COR for a sole-proprietorship business owned by the company;
  • applying COR for a partnership business of which the company is a partner;
  • non-Singapore incorporate companies.

These companies may write to IRAS with the following details:

  1. Name and Unique Entity Number (UEN) of the company/ sole-proprietorship/ partnership
  2. Reason(s) for requesting the COR
  3. Calendar year for which the COR is required
  4. Name of treaty country
  5. Nature and amount of income to be derived from treaty country
  6. Name of the foreign company/ person paying the income
  7. Date of remittance of income
  8. Confirmation that the control and management of the business of the company for the whole of the calendar year is/ will be exercised in Singapore

IRAS will process your application within 14 working days from the day we receive the complete information. The processing time may take longer if the case is complex. All COR will be mailed to the company's registered address. Please allow up to 4 working days to receive it in your mail.

How to get a company tax certificate in Singapore

 If you want to get the COR, your company must be a tax resident of Singapore. Nominee companies are disqualified because they are not the beneficial owner of the income derived from the treaty partner. Your company is a nominee company if it holds shares for the owners. You have to go to the tax portal of the IRAS website to apply. You can get a COR for the current calendar year or one of the past four calendar years.

Also See: Calendar Year, Tax Residency, Residency Certificate, Year 2020, Year, Tax, Singapore

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