What’s TIN, And Why Do Singaporean Businesses Need It?

Have you ever heard of Singapore TIN? No, we’re not talking about it in the context of chemistry. TIN, or Tax Identification Number, is an alphanumeric combination that may be nine or ten digits long. It is mandatorily issued to individuals and businesses based in Singapore by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. Like an identification number, a TIN is unique and is mainly required for filing taxes (as implied by its name).

Singaporean nationals who don’t reside in Singapore can get their TIN using their National Registration Identity Card (NRIC). Likewise, foreign citizens can get a TIN using their Foreign Identification Number (FIN).

Post 2009, Unique Entity Number (UEN) is considered the equivalent of TIN for businesses operating in Singapore. They can be thought of as bank account numbers that are used specifically for the purpose of filing taxes. Companies are required to get a Unique Entity Number issued by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Depending on your organization type, you’ll have to approach relevant authorities to issue a UEN. There are four broad classifications:

  • Local businesses or foreign companies can approach the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.
  • Societies can approach the registry of societies.
  • Charities or nonprofits can approach the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth.
  • Trade unions can approach the Ministry of Manpower.

Apart from these, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Communication and Information, and the Singapore land authority can also issue a UEN to corporations.

What are the benefits that a UEN gives to businesses?

  1. For import-export permits: Global businesses operating in Singapore often take advantage of the seamless Singaporean trade sea routes to import and export goods to other parts of the world. It makes a company profitable and allows it to establish a global clientele. UEN is required in order to get an import-export permit so that the government can keep track of the income or expenses incurred through foreign sources and tax them accordingly.
  2. For filing taxes: As a business, it’s integral to stay transparent about the taxes on income to stay legally operational. Therefore, all individuals and enterprises must possess a TIN or UEN to pay taxes for the financial year.
  3. Remittance of the central provident fund payments (CPF): A CPF is a mandatory saving and pension plan that has to be given to Singaporean employees and residents, mainly to fund their retirement, housing needs, and healthcare. For a company to make central provident fund payments to its employees, it must disclose your or your employees’ TIN so that the government can keep track of the CPF payments made and accordingly impose taxes on them.
  4. TIN for updating your business’ information: Singapore’s accounting and corporate regulatory authority has a bizfile system that requires businesses to input their TIN to access the website and make changes.

To summarize, it’s essential for all Singaporean nationals and businesses to get their TIN to avail of all the tax-related services the Singaporean government offers. It keeps all tax-related data safe and transparent wrinky.


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