Withholding Taxes in Singapore

Companies, individuals, and other entities in Singapore must pay a withholding tax when making payments to non-resident entities.

The withholding tax only applies to non-resident companies or individuals who have sourced an income from Singapore. It is a common form of tax that most countries impose on cross-border transactions and other payments involving non-residents. It is called a withholding tax because it is levied on the payer rather than the recipient, meaning the taxable amount is withheld from the recipient.

Did You Know
Withholding taxes differ based on location and income type. Withholding taxes in Singapore are low by global standards, in line with the city-state’s reputation for business-friendly policies.

Withholding tax rates

Payments that require withholding taxes in Singapore include payments for services, interest, royalties, rentals of movable properties, and direct payments to non-residents.

The types of income subject to withholding tax are:

Withholding Tax on Payments to Non-Resident Companies

Nature of Income

Tax Rate (in %)







Technical assistance and service fees


Rent on moveable property


Charter fees for aircraft or ship


Payers do not need to pay any withholding taxes to resident individuals and corporations. Singapore’s standard non-treaty withholding tax rates are zero for dividends, 15 percent for interest, and 10 percent for royalties.

Singapore has tax treaties with several countries, many of which lower withholding tax rates. For example, its agreement with Malaysia lowers the withholding tax rate on interest from 15 percent to 10 percent, and the rate for royalties from 10 percent to 8 percent.

Withholding Tax Rates in Singapore

Nature of income

Tax rate (%)

Interest, commission, fee, or other payment in connection with any loan or indebtedness


Royalty or other lump sum payments for the use of moveable properties


Royalty and other payments made to the author, composer, or choreographer


Payment for the use of or the right to use scientific, technical, industrial, or commercial knowledge or information


Rent or other payments for the use of moveable properties


Technical assistance and service fees

Prevailing Corporate Tax rate

Management fees

Prevailing Corporate Tax rate

Time, voyage, and bareboat charter fees for the charter of aircraft

Applicable aircraft charter rates

Time, voyage, and bareboat charter fees for the charter of ships


Proceeds from the sale of any real property by a non-resident property trader


Distribution of taxable income made by REIT to unitholder who is a non-resident (other than an individual)


Payment to a non-resident director


Payment to non-resident professional/foreign firms (unincorporated)

15 - on gross income or prevailing non-resident individual rate on net income

Payment to non-resident public entertainers

10 - on gross income

Commission/payment to non-resident international market agent


Source: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

The withholding tax rate for royalties or other payments made to an author, composer, choreographer, or non-resident director is 24 percent.

Filing withholding taxes

Payers subject to a withholding tax must file and pay the tax to the IRAS by the 15th of the second month following when the payment was made. The payment timeframe is based on the earliest date of the contract, invoice, payment, or when the recipient was credited.

Payers who miss the filing and payment deadline will be subject to an additional five percent penalty in the form of a late payment penalty notice. Further penalties apply if the payer still has not paid within 30 days of the notice’s issuance.

Did You Know
Individual taxpayers must use the online platform SingPass to e-file withholding taxes. Individuals filing on behalf of an entity, such as a company or trust, must first be authorized on the CorpPass platform.

Resident vs. Non-resident Companies

Companies, individuals, and other Singapore-based entities must pay withholding tax when making a payment to a non-resident.


Succeed in Singapore – Implementing Best Compliance Practices from Day One

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In Singapore, a company is either a resident or a non-resident. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) determines residency by where the company is controlled and managed, or in other words, where it makes decisions on strategic matters. This means that a company’s residency is not necessarily the location of where it is incorporated.

For example, a company might be incorporated in Singapore, but be considered a non-resident if decisions are de facto made in another jurisdiction, such as Hong Kong or London. One factor in determining residency – but not necessarily the only one – is where the company holds its Board of Directors meeting.

Non-resident Individuals

The IRAS classifies non-resident individuals into three different categories:

  • Foreign professionals;
  • Public entertainers, and
  • Board directors.

Residency for all three categories depends on whether they spend less than 183 days in a calendar year in Singapore, but they have different obligations for tax purposes.

A professional is a non-resident if they are in Singapore for less than 183 days in a calendar year. Examples of foreign professionals include foreign experts or consultants invited to Singapore to share knowledge or expertise with an organization, an academic attending a seminar or workshop, or an individual operating via a foreign company.

Foreign public entertainers are those who visit Singapore to perform and spend less than 183 days in the country, and are classified as public entertainers regardless of whether they are working as individuals or as employees. The IRAS does not include individuals who assist public entertainers with their performances in this category, such as audio crewmembers, choreographers, coaches, and personal trainers.

Board directors, or company directors, are non-residents if they spend less than 183 in a calendar year in Singapore. A board director may also hold another role within a company, such as a chief executive officer or managing director, but they are only considered a board director for income derived in that role.


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