One thing you might have noticed about the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is, it’s pretty fond of asking both individuals and corporations for their “Tax Identification Number”, “Unique Entity Number” or “Tax Reference Number”.
Now, in case you’ve been wondering what it’s all about, this article provides all the answers you need. It reveals what the tax identification number entails in Singapore, what it means for entities and individuals, as well as the application processes you should follow as a foreigner.
What is a Tax Identification Number?
In Singapore, Tax Identification Number (TIN) refers to a unique set of nine to ten digits that the government issues to tax-paying individuals and entities. They are fundamentally meant to act as distinct identifiers or “fingerprints” in statutory procedures such as tax filing.
It’s worth noting, though, that Tax Identification Numbers don’t always go by that name.
Singapore citizens and permanent residents, for instance, are issued what is known as a “Tax Reference Number” by the IRAS. Then businesses, on the other hand, are given a “Unique Entity Number” (UEN) by government agencies such as the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.
However, that wasn’t always the case. It just so happens that before January 2009, each business had a “Tax Identification Number”. It then morphed into the UEN after Singapore changed its policies.
Why Is It Important?
From the name itself, you can tell that the Tax Identification Number is intended to act as the reference number in all the tax-related procedures. Both individuals and entities are expected to use their TIN while filing their tax returns with the IRAS.
But, it doesn’t stop there. As it turns out, the TIN is also relevant in many other government transactions. Businesses, for instance, are required to additionally use their UEN when:
- Remitting CPF payments.
- Applying for import and export permits.
- Updating company information on ACRA’s Bizfile system.
Tax Identification Number Singapore: How to Check for Your TIN
If you’re a Singapore citizen, you can simply confirm your Tax Identification Number using your National Registration Identity Card. Foreigners, on the other hand, should proceed with their:
- Unique Account.
- Foreign Identification Number (FIN)
As for businesses and entities, the numbers can be confirmed online via UEN’s Seach.
How to Apply for a TIN in Singapore
As an individual:
- You should apply for your TRN by registering an IRAS Unique Account, or signing up at the SingPass website.
- To complete the application, the system will require you to submit your National Registration Identity Card Number (if you’re a Singapore citizen), or a Foreign Identification Number (if you’re a foreigner).
- Once you submit your application, the IRAS will review everything and then send you a Tax Reference Number within 5 working days.
The application process for entities, however, is a little bit different. Instead of applying through the IRAS, they are required to obtain their UEN from government agencies like:
- Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority: ACRA issues UENs to local businesses and foreign companies.
- Ministry of Manpower: MOM issues UENs to trade unions.
- The Registry of Societies: ROS issues UENs to registered societies.
- Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth: MCCY issues UENs to non-profit organizations and charities.
Where To Start
If you’re looking to set up shop in Singapore, you can start by talking to us. Our corporate experts will help you in not only securing a Tax Identification Number, but also fulfilling the rest of the statutory business requirements in Singapore.