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Unlocking the Secrets of IR21 and IR21 Form: Tax Clearance for Foreign Workers and SPR in Singapore


IR21 Tax Clearance is a crucial process that expatriates in Singapore need to be familiar with. Understanding the intricacies of this process is essential to ensure compliance with Singapore tax regulations and avoid potential penalties. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of IR21 Tax Clearance and provide a step-by-step walkthrough of the process. We will also discuss the necessary documents and information required, as well as the tax implications and considerations that expatriates should be aware of.


We will address common challenges and frequently asked questions relating to IR21 Tax Clearance. By the end of this guide, you will have a thorough understanding of IR21 Tax Clearance and be equipped with the knowledge to navigate this process effectively. So let's dive in and unlock the secrets of IR21 Tax Clearance for Singapore expatriates.


Key takeaway:

  • Understanding IR21 Tax Clearance: Expatriates in Singapore need to be aware of IR21 Tax Clearance, its importance, and the consequences of not complying with it.

  • Step-by-step Guide to IR21 Tax Clearance: Expatriates should follow a systematic process, including determining eligibility, informing the employer, submitting an application, obtaining approval, and understanding re-entry after tax clearance.

  • Tax Implications and Considerations: Expatriates must assess tax residency status, understand double taxation agreements, be aware of CPF contribution effects, and consider tax planning for optimizing foreign income.

What is IR21 Tax Clearance and Why is it Important?


IR21 Tax Clearance: A Crucial Process for Singapore Expatriates


IR21 tax clearance is a significant process that Singapore expatriates must undergo when they cease employment in the country. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that expatriates have fulfilled their tax obligations and settled any outstanding taxes before leaving Singapore. This is of utmost importance as it prevents any issues or penalties that may arise from non-compliance. Failure to obtain IR21 tax clearance can result in penalties and a hold being placed on the expatriate's funds in Singapore.


The purpose of IR21 tax clearance is to ensure that expatriates do not leave Singapore without paying their taxes. This holds immense significance in maintaining the integrity of the tax system and ensuring that all individuals fulfill their obligations to contribute to the country's revenue. By obtaining tax clearance, expatriates can effectively demonstrate that they have fulfilled their responsibilities as taxpayers.


To obtain IR21 tax clearance, expatriates must submit a tax clearance application to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) before their departure from Singapore. They need to provide relevant information such as their employment history, income details, and tax payments. The IRAS will then assess their tax liabilities and issue a tax clearance certificate if all taxes have been settled.


A true story that highlights the importance of IR21 tax clearance involves an expatriate who left Singapore without obtaining tax clearance. This individual faced severe consequences, including a hold being placed on their funds in Singapore and difficulty in accessing their assets. This serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of complying with tax obligations and obtaining tax clearance before leaving the country.


Understanding the Singapore Tax System for Expatriates

When it comes to comprehending the tax system in Singapore for expatriates, it is important to understand a few key points. Expatriates in Singapore are subject to the same tax laws as residents, meaning they must pay income tax on their earnings. The tax rates for individuals in Singapore vary from 0% to 22%, depending on their level of income. It is crucial for expatriates to be aware of these tax rates and ensure they fulfill their tax obligations.

Expatriates may be eligible for specific tax incentives and deductions. For instance, Singapore offers the Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) scheme, which grants tax benefits to expatriates who meet specific criteria. Under this scheme, expatriates may qualify for tax exemptions on their income earned overseas.


Understanding the concept of tax residency in Singapore is also significant for expatriates. Generally, individuals are considered tax residents if they spend at least 183 days in Singapore within a calendar year. If an individual is a tax resident of another country and holds a tax treaty with Singapore, they may be exempt from paying taxes in Singapore.

In summary, having a thorough understanding of the Singapore tax system is crucial for expatriates to ensure compliance and maximize tax benefits. Expatriates should be familiar with the tax rates, incentives, and residency requirements in order to effectively manage their tax obligations in Singapore.


Pro tip: It is advisable for expatriates to seek professional advice from a tax consultant or accountant specializing in international taxation. This will ensure they have comprehensive knowledge of the Singapore tax system and can optimize their tax situation.


Who Needs to Apply for IR21 Tax Clearance?

When it comes to IR21 tax clearance in Singapore, it is crucial to understand who needs to apply for it.

  • All employees, regardless of their nationality, who plan to leave Singapore for more than three months or permanently, are required to apply for IR21 tax clearance.

  • Foreign employees holding a Work Permit, Employment Pass or S Pass, as well as Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), are also included in this requirement.

  • Singaporean citizens who have worked or intend to work overseas for more than three months are also required to apply for IR21 tax clearance.

  • It is important to note that even if an employee is leaving Singapore only for a short period but will continue to receive Singapore income, they still need to apply for tax clearance.

The purpose of IR21 tax clearance is to ensure that individuals fulfill their tax obligations before leaving Singapore. It allows the tax authorities to assess and collect any outstanding taxes, thereby maintaining the integrity and fairness of the tax system. Failure to comply with IR21 tax clearance can result in penalties and legal repercussions.


If you fall into any of the aforementioned categories, it is crucial to understand the process and timeline for applying for IR21 tax clearance. Make sure to gather all the necessary documents and information required for the application, such as personal identification documents, contractual agreements, employment pass information, income details, tax computation, and proof of residency in Singapore.


By complying with IR21 tax clearance, you can ensure a smooth transition when leaving Singapore and avoid any complications or issues with the tax authorities.


Consequences of Not Complying with IR21 Tax Clearance


  • Legal penalties: Not complying with IR21 tax clearance can result in legal consequences, including legal action by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

  • Fines and penalties: Individuals who fail to comply with IR21 tax clearance may face fines and penalties imposed by the IRAS, depending on the severity of the non-compliance.

  • Damaged reputation: Deliberately avoiding tax obligations and not complying with IR21 tax clearance can tarnish an individual's reputation, impacting future job prospects and business opportunities.

  • Difficulty with future visa applications: Non-compliance with tax clearance requirements can create difficulties when applying for visas or work permits, as many governments require proof of tax compliance.

  • Loss of benefits: Failure to comply with IR21 tax clearance may result in the loss of certain government schemes or subsidies for non-compliant individuals.

  • Audits and investigations: Non-compliance with tax clearance can trigger time-consuming and stressful audits or investigations by the IRAS, demanding supporting documentation to prove compliance.

It is essential to understand the consequences of not complying with IR21 tax clearance to avoid legal issues, financial penalties, and other negative repercussions.


Step-by-Step Guide to File IR21 Tax Clearance Process


Discover the in-depth process of IR21 tax clearance for Singapore expatriates in a step-by-step guide. Unravel the eligibility criteria for IR21 tax clearance, learn how to effectively communicate departure plans with your employer, and delve into the intricacies of submitting the IR21 tax clearance application. From the awaited approval and certification to re-entry into Singapore following tax clearance, we've got you covered on every aspect of this crucial procedure. Get ready to unlock the secrets of IR21 tax clearance like a pro!


Determine Eligibility for IR21 Tax Clearance

To determine eligibility for IR21 Tax Clearance, follow these steps:

  • 1. Assess your employment pass status: Determine whether you hold a valid employment pass in Singapore. Only individuals with an active or expired employment pass are eligible to apply for IR21 Tax Clearance.

  • 2. Check your departure plans: If you plan to leave Singapore permanently or for a continuous period exceeding three months, you are required to apply for IR21 Tax Clearance. Temporary absences of less than three months do not require tax clearance.

  • 3. Calculate your tax liability: Evaluate your tax liability in Singapore by considering your income earned in the country. This includes employment income, director's fees, and other taxable income. If you have outstanding tax liabilities, ensure they are settled before applying for tax clearance.

  • 4. Determine your residency status: Check whether you meet the criteria for tax residency in Singapore. The factors include the number of days physically present in Singapore, the duration of your employment pass, and your intention to establish residency in another country.

  • 5. Review your contractual agreements: Examine your employment contract, employment pass, and any relevant agreements or contracts related to your work in Singapore. Ensure that you comply with all legal obligations and terms of employment.

  • 6. Gather the necessary documents: Collect all personal identification documents, such as your passport, employment pass, and proof of residency in Singapore. These documents will be required during the IR21 Tax Clearance application process.

By following these steps, you can determine your eligibility for IR21 Tax Clearance and ensure compliance with Singapore's tax regulations when leaving the country.


Informing the Employer about Departure Plans

Informing the Employer about Departure Plans is a crucial step that needs to be taken during the IR21 tax clearance process for Singapore expatriates. It is imperative to inform your employer well in advance about your departure to ensure a seamless transition.

To notify your employer about your departure plans, follow these steps:

  1. Arrange a meeting with your supervisor or HR department to discuss your intention to leave Singapore.

  2. Submit a written notice of resignation or termination, clearly stating your departure date.

  3. Share any relevant details, including the reason for leaving, the duration of your absence, and any updated contact information.

  4. Collaborate with your employer to determine the necessary handover arrangements, ensuring all pending tasks and responsibilities are appropriately delegated.

  5. Request clarification regarding any outstanding employment benefits or entitlements, such as salary payments, bonuses, or leave days.

  6. Inquire about the documents or forms essential for tax clearance purposes, and make sure you have all the necessary information to complete them accurately.

  7. Maintain open and transparent communication with your employer throughout the process, promptly addressing any concerns or queries.

By informing your employer about your departure plans, you ensure that they are aware of your intentions and can provide assistance in fulfilling your tax clearance obligations. It also allows them to make the required arrangements for either continuing your role or finding a suitable replacement. Remember to approach the matter professionally and provide sufficient notice to minimize any disruptions to your employer's operations.


Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application

When submitting your IR21 Tax Clearance application as a Singapore expatriate, it is crucial to follow a step-by-step process to guarantee a seamless and successful submission.

  1. Gather required documents: Collect all the necessary personal identification documents, such as your passport, Singapore Identification Card (if applicable), and any other relevant identification documents required for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application.

  2. Prepare employment information: Gather contractual agreements, employment pass information, and any other employment-related documents that may be required for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application.

  3. Calculate income details and tax computation: Compile all the necessary information regarding your income, including salary, bonuses, allowances, and other taxable components. Calculate the tax payable based on the Singapore tax rates and any applicable exemptions or deductions for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application.

  4. Provide proof of residency in Singapore: Submit documents that prove your residential status in Singapore, such as lease agreements, utility bills, or any other documents showing your residential address for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application.

  5. Complete the IR21 Tax Clearance application: Fill out the IR21 Tax Clearance form accurately and completely for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application. Double-check all the information provided before submission to avoid any discrepancies.

  6. Submit the application: Submit the completed IR21 Tax Clearance application form, along with all the required supporting documents, to the relevant tax authorities or your employer's Human Resources department for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application.

  7. Wait for approval: After submission, wait for the tax clearance application to be processed and approved for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application. The processing time may vary, so it is important to submit the application well in advance of your departure date.

  8. Follow further instructions: If any additional instructions or requirements are communicated to you by the tax authorities or your employer's HR department, comply with them promptly and provide the necessary information or documents as requested for the Submission of IR21 Tax Clearance Application.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and efficient submission of your IR21 Tax Clearance application, allowing for a hassle-free departure from Singapore.


Tax Clearance Approval and Certification

When it comes to tax clearance approval and certification, there are several important steps that Singapore expatriates need to follow. Here is a list of key points to consider:

  • Submit your tax clearance application: Once you have determined your eligibility for tax clearance, you need to submit your application to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Ensure that you provide all the necessary documents and information required.

  • Wait for approval: After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the IRAS to review and process your request. The processing time can vary, so it's important to submit your application well in advance of your departure date.

  • Obtain tax clearance certificate: Once your application is approved, you will receive a tax clearance certificate from the IRAS. This certificate serves as proof that you have fulfilled your tax obligations in Singapore.

  • Keep a copy of the certificate: It is crucial to keep a copy of your tax clearance certificate for future reference. This certificate may be required by your employer or the authorities when you return to Singapore.

When dealing with tax clearance approval and certification, it's important to follow the correct procedures and ensure compliance with Singapore's tax regulations. Failing to comply with tax clearance requirements can result in penalties and legal consequences. Therefore, it is recommended to seek professional advice and guidance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process. Remember to keep all relevant documentation and follow the instructions provided by the IRAS to ensure a successful tax clearance process.


Returning to Singapore after Tax Clearance

Returning to Singapore after Tax Clearance is a straightforward process that allows expatriates to resume their activities in the country.


Here are the steps to follow:

1. Obtain tax clearance approval: Before leaving Singapore, expatriates must apply for tax clearance to ensure they have fulfilled all their tax obligations. Once the application is processed and approved, a tax clearance certificate will be issued, indicating that the individual has settled their taxes for the period they were in Singapore.

2. Keep the tax clearance certificate handy: The tax clearance certificate is an important document that expatriates should keep safely. It may be required by authorities when re-entering Singapore in the future to ensure that all taxes have been properly settled.

3. Maintain proper records: Expatriates should maintain records of the tax clearance certificate, as well as any other relevant documents related to their employment and income in Singapore. These records can help provide proof of compliance if necessary.

4. Consult tax professionals if needed: If there are any uncertainties or changes in tax circumstances upon returning to Singapore, it is advisable to consult with tax professionals to ensure all future tax obligations are met.

By following these steps, expatriates can return to Singapore after tax clearance without any complications. It is important to complete the tax clearance process properly to avoid any potential legal issues or delays when re-entering the country.

Remember, returning to Singapore after tax clearance is a vital step to maintain compliance with tax regulations and ensure a smooth transition back into the country.


Documents and Information Required for IR21 Tax Clearance

Personal Identification Documents

When it comes to the IR21 tax clearance process for Singapore expatriates, personal identification documents are essential to ensure a smooth completion of the procedure.



It is crucial to ensure the accuracy and currency of all personal identification documents to avoid complications during the tax clearance process. Failure to submit the necessary documents may lead to delays or issues with your tax clearance application.


Contractual Agreements and Employment Pass Information

When it comes to IR21 tax clearance for Singapore expatriates, understanding the importance of contractual agreements and employment pass information is crucial. These contractual agreements lay out the terms and conditions of employment, encompassing salary, benefits, and the duration of the contract. Reviewing these agreements is essential to ensure compliance with tax regulations and grasp any tax implications.


Employment pass information holds significant value as it determines an individual's eligibility to work in Singapore. Having a valid employment pass is a requirement for expatriates to be employed in the country. Furthermore, the type of employment pass held by an individual will impact their tax status and obligations under the law.


Contractual agreements and employment pass information play a pivotal role in the IR21 tax clearance process. These documents are to be provided by expatriates when submitting their tax clearance application. The tax authorities rely on this information to verify the employment status of the individual and ensure proper tax compliance.


It is of utmost importance to accurately and honestly declare all contractual agreements and employment pass information to avoid any discrepancies or potential penalties. Failure to comply with the tax clearance requirements can lead to consequences such as fines, imprisonment, or even being denied future employment opportunities in Singapore.

Expatriates are strongly advised to seek guidance from tax professionals or consult the tax authorities to obtain a clear understanding of the tax implications arising from their contractual agreements and employment pass status.


During World War II, contractual agreements and employment pass information played a crucial role in regulating the labor force. These employment contracts were implemented by many countries to safeguard working conditions and protect workers' rights, outlining crucial aspects such as wages, working hours, and benefits. On the other hand, employment pass information ensured that individuals were authorized to work in specific countries, effectively preventing illegal employment practices. Even today, both contractual agreements and employment pass information continue to play an essential role in upholding fair and lawful employment practices on a global scale.


Income Details and Tax Computation

When it comes to income details and tax computation for Singapore expatriates, it is important to understand the calculation process and the relevant information required by the tax authorities. Here is a breakdown of the key components involved:



It is crucial to accurately report your income details and provide the necessary supporting documents when applying for IR21 tax clearance. Failure to do so can result in penalties and legal consequences. Consulting with a tax professional can help ensure compliance with Singapore's tax regulations and optimize your tax planning strategies.


Proof of Residency in Singapore

Proof of Residency in Singapore is a crucial requirement for expatriates going through the IR21 tax clearance process. In order to provide sufficient proof, expatriates must submit the following documents:

  1. Employment Pass or Work Permit: A valid Employment Pass or Work Permit is essential to demonstrate legal residency status in Singapore.

  2. Passport and Immigration Stamp: Expatriates must furnish a copy of their passport, including the pages containing personal information and the immigration stamp indicating the date of entry into Singapore.

  3. Tenancy Agreement or Utility Bills: Substantial proof of residency can be established by submitting a copy of a tenancy agreement or utility bills bearing the expatriate's name and residential address in Singapore.

  4. Bank Statements: The submission of bank statements reflecting transactions or activities conducted in Singapore further strengthens the proof of residency.

  5. Letter from Landlord: In the absence of a tenancy agreement, an alternative can be a letter from the landlord confirming the expatriate's residency at the mentioned address.

It is crucial to ensure that all documents provided as proof of residency are both up to date and accurately reflect the expatriate's current status and residential address in Singapore. Failure to provide sufficient and valid proof of residency can result in delays or complications in the IR21 tax clearance process. Expatriates should retain copies of all documents and maintain clear records to facilitate the tax clearance process and fulfill their tax obligations in Singapore.


Tax Implications and Considerations for Singapore Expatriates


Curious about the tax implications for Singapore expatriates? In this section, we'll dive into the key considerations you need to know when it comes to taxes. From assessing your tax residency status to understanding double taxation agreements, we'll break it all down for you. We'll also explore the impact of tax clearance on CPF contributions and share tips on tax planning and optimizing foreign income. Get ready to unravel the secrets of IR21 tax clearance in this comprehensive guide.


Assessing Tax Residency Status

Assessing tax residency status is a critical aspect for Singapore expatriates in determining their tax obligations. When considering tax residency, several key factors come into play:

  1. Number of days in Singapore: In Singapore, the "183-day rule" is applied to ascertain tax residency. If an individual spends 183 days or more in Singapore during a calendar year, they will be regarded as a tax resident. It is essential to keep a record of the number of days spent in the country.

  2. Permanent home: Having a permanent residence in Singapore, such as a house or an apartment, serves as an indication of an individual's intention to reside in the country. This can impact their tax residency status.

  3. Family ties: The presence of immediate family members, like a spouse or children, residing in Singapore, can also influence an individual's tax residency status. If an expatriate's family lives in Singapore and they frequently visit them, it can suggest a stronger connection to the country.

  4. Economic factors: An individual's employment in Singapore or having significant business interests in the country can strongly indicate their tax residency status. Factors such as the amount of income earned in Singapore and the duration of their employment or business activities are taken into account.

  5. Tax treaties: Singapore has established tax treaties with various countries to prevent double taxation. It is imperative to understand the provisions of these treaties and how they may impact an individual's tax residency status.

Accurately assessing your tax residency status is crucial to ensure compliance with tax regulations and avoid potential penalties.


Understanding Double Taxation Agreements

Understanding double taxation agreements is essential for Singapore expatriates to ensure that they are not subjected to taxation on the same income in both their home country and Singapore. Here are some crucial points to consider:

  1. Definition: Double taxation agreements, also known as tax treaties, are bilateral agreements between two countries that aim to prevent the double taxation of income earned by individuals or companies in both countries.

  2. Purpose: These agreements provide clarity on the tax obligations of individuals and businesses operating in both countries, eliminate or reduce instances of double taxation, and promote economic cooperation and investment between the two countries.

  3. Scope: Double taxation agreements cover various types of income, such as employment income, business income, dividends, interest, royalties, and capital gains. They also address residency status and the allocation of taxing rights between the countries.

  4. Benefits: Understanding the provisions of double taxation agreements can assist Singapore expatriates in avoiding double taxation, minimizing their overall tax liability, and ensuring that they can benefit from specific tax relief measures offered under the agreement.

  5. Claiming treaty benefits: To take advantage of the provisions in a double taxation agreement, individuals need to apply for the relevant tax relief, such as a reduced withholding tax rate or exemption, by submitting a tax residency certificate or other supporting documents to the tax authorities.

By comprehending double taxation agreements, Singapore expatriates can navigate the complexities of international taxation and ensure that they are fulfilling their tax obligations in both their home country and Singapore while minimizing the risk of double taxation.


Effect of Tax Clearance on CPF Contributions

The effect of tax clearance on CPF contributions for Singapore expatriates is an important consideration. CPF contributions, also known as Central Provident Fund contributions, are mandatory savings for retirement, healthcare, and housing needs in Singapore. When an expatriate leaves Singapore and applies for tax clearance, it has a significant impact on their CPF contributions.


1. Suspension of CPF contributions: Upon approval of tax clearance, the employer will cease making CPF contributions on behalf of the expatriate. This means that the expatriate's CPF account will no longer receive contributions from their salary.

2. Opportunity for voluntary contributions: Despite the suspension of CPF contributions, expatriates still have the choice to make voluntary contributions to their CPF account. These voluntary contributions can prove beneficial for long-term retirement planning.

3. Impact on CPF Minimum Sum: The CPF Minimum Sum refers to the required amount of savings in the CPF account to support basic retirement needs. The suspension of CPF contributions during the tax clearance process can affect the growth of the CPF Minimum Sum. It is important for expatriates to consider this when planning for their retirement.

4. CPF contributions upon return: If the expatriate returns to Singapore after tax clearance and resumes employment, CPF contributions will be reinstated by the employer. These contributions will help rebuild the expatriate's CPF savings.

5. Potential tax benefits: While tax clearance may result in the suspension of CPF contributions, it can also offer tax benefits for expatriates. By fulfilling their tax obligations before leaving Singapore, expatriates may become eligible for tax refunds or exemptions, which can have a positive impact on their overall financial situation.

Understanding the effect of tax clearance on CPF contributions is crucial for Singapore expatriates to effectively plan for their retirement and manage their finances during their time abroad.


Tax Planning and Optimizing Foreign Income

Tax planning is crucial for Singapore expatriates to effectively manage their foreign income. By strategically navigating the tax landscape, expatriates can enhance their earnings while minimizing their taxable liabilities. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when it comes to tax planning and optimizing foreign income:


1. Understand tax regulations: It is important to familiarize yourself with the tax laws and regulations both in Singapore and the country where your income originates from. This will enable you to ascertain your tax obligations and identify any potential tax incentives or exemptions that may be available to you.

2. Utilize double taxation agreements: Singapore has established several double taxation agreements (DTAs) with other nations to avoid the same income being taxed twice. Make the most of these DTAs to reduce your tax burden and take advantage of any relief or credits applicable to you.

3. Capitalize on tax deductions and allowances: Singapore offers a range of deductions and allowances that can be applied to foreign income. These include expenses related to employment, housing, education, and relocation. Ensure you maintain proper records and claim these deductions accordingly to minimize your taxable income.

4. Optimize personal tax residency status: Understanding your tax residency status can significantly impact your tax liability. By managing the duration of your stay in Singapore and abroad, you may be able to qualify for favorable tax residency rules and rates.

5. Seek professional advice: It is highly advisable to consult with a qualified tax advisor who specializes in international taxation. They can provide personalized advice based on your unique circumstances and assist you in navigating the complexities of tax planning and optimization.


Remember, it is crucial to conduct tax planning and optimize foreign income in accordance with the laws and regulations of both Singapore and the foreign country involved. By staying informed and making informed decisions, you can ensure that you make the most of available opportunities while fulfilling your tax obligations responsibly.


Can I apply for IR21 Tax Clearance if I don't have an employment pass?

Yes, you can apply for IR21 Tax Clearance even if you don't have an employment pass. IR21 Tax Clearance is required for any individual who is leaving Singapore permanently or for an extended period of time. It applies to both individuals with and without an employment pass.

Whether you are on an employment pass or not, if you are a foreigner residing in Singapore, you are still subject to the tax laws and regulations of the country. This means that if you are leaving the country, you must comply with the tax clearance process by submitting the necessary documents and information to the tax authorities.


The purpose of IR21 Tax Clearance is to ensure that individuals settle any outstanding tax liabilities before leaving Singapore. It is important to note that failure to comply with the tax clearance requirements can result in penalties or legal consequences, regardless of whether you have an employment pass or not. Therefore, it is essential to follow the proper procedures and fulfill your tax obligations.


If you are unsure about the specific requirements and documents needed for IR21 Tax Clearance without an employment pass, it is advisable to consult with the tax authorities or seek professional advice to ensure that you complete the process accurately and in a timely manner.

What happens if there are discrepancies in my tax clearance declaration?

  • If there are discrepancies in your tax clearance declaration, it is important to address them promptly to avoid potential penalties and legal consequences.

  • The first step is to review your tax clearance declaration and identify the discrepancies. This may involve comparing your declaration with your income details and other relevant documentation.

  • Contact the relevant tax authority or department to inform them about the discrepancies and seek guidance on how to rectify the situation.

  • Provide supporting documentation or evidence to explain the discrepancies and demonstrate that they were unintentional. This may include bank statements, contracts, or any other relevant paperwork.

  • Cooperate fully with the tax authority's investigation and respond promptly to any requests for additional information or clarification.

  • Be prepared to amend your tax clearance declaration if necessary and ensure that the corrected information is accurate and in compliance with the tax regulations.

  • Keep detailed records of all communication and documentation related to the discrepancies and their resolution.

  • If the discrepancies involve underreported income or other tax liabilities, consult with a tax professional to determine the best course of action and to ensure that you fulfill your obligations.

  • Take steps to prevent future discrepancies by maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records, seeking professional advice when necessary, and staying informed about relevant tax regulations and requirements.

  • What happens if there are discrepancies in my tax clearance declaration?

How long does the file IR21 tax clearance process take?

The process of IR21 tax clearance in Singapore can vary in duration depending on several factors. On average, the IR21 tax clearance process takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to complete. It is important to note that the actual timeline can be influenced by various factors, such as the complexity of the individual's tax situation, any discrepancies in their tax declaration, and the efficiency of the tax authorities in processing the clearance.

During the IR21 tax clearance process, the taxpayer is required to submit their tax clearance application, including all necessary documents and information. The tax authorities will then review the application and assess the individual's tax liabilities, including any outstanding taxes. This includes validating the accuracy of the tax computation and assessing any potential discrepancies.


Once the tax clearance application is approved and the individual's tax liabilities are settled, a tax clearance certificate is issued. This certificate serves as proof that the individual has fulfilled their tax obligations and is cleared to leave Singapore without any outstanding tax liabilities.


Pro-tip: To ensure a smooth and timely IR21 tax clearance process, it is recommended to start the process well in advance of your planned departure date. This allows sufficient time for any potential issues or discrepancies to be resolved, and for the tax authorities to complete the necessary review and processing.


Navigating Paper-Filed Tax Clearances


When it comes to navigating paper-filed tax clearances in Singapore, employers need to be well-versed in the intricacies of the process, particularly when dealing with foreign and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) employees. The key document at the heart of this procedure is the IR21 form, which plays a pivotal role in determining the amount of tax that needs to be cleared. It is the company's responsibility to file the IR21 form when an employee ceases employment and is required to seek tax clearance.


Upon receiving a directive from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) to pay tax, employers must promptly initiate the paper filing process. This involves notifying IRAS of the cessation of employment for non-Singapore citizen employees, SPRs, or any other relevant personnel. The tax clearance directive from IRAS will specify the tax bill and the monies to be withheld, including reimbursements, pending clearance.


To streamline this process, companies can access the necessary forms and information via the myTax portal. However, it's important to note that unlike e-filed tax clearances, paper-filed tax clearances may take a bit longer to process. Hence, employers should plan accordingly and ensure that payslips and all relevant documents are readily available.

Ultimately, by adhering to these guidelines and fulfilling their responsibility in handling tax clearances, companies contribute to the broader effort of curbing tax evasion in Singapore, i.e., the Prohibited Tax Practices (PEP). Employers must recognise that the responsibility to file these clearances, whether e-filed or paper-filed, rests with them, reinforcing the importance of thorough compliance in Singapore's tax ecosystem.


What should I do if I have outstanding tax liabilities?

If you have outstanding tax liabilities, it is crucial to take prompt action to resolve the issue. Here are the steps you should follow:


1. Assess your tax liabilities: Determine the exact amount you owe to the tax authorities. This can be done by reviewing your tax returns and any communication from the tax department.

2. Contact the tax authorities: Reach out to the tax authorities to inform them about your outstanding tax liabilities. Provide them with the necessary information and documentation to facilitate the resolution process.

3. Seek professional advice: If you're wondering, "What should I do if I have outstanding tax liabilities?", consider consulting with a tax advisor or accountant who specializes in tax matters. They can guide you through the process and help you develop a plan to settle your tax debt.

4. Negotiate a payment plan: Work with the tax authorities to establish a suitable payment plan based on your financial situation. This may involve monthly installments or a lump sum payment.

5. Prioritize payments: Allocate your resources to prioritize paying off your tax liabilities. Meeting your tax obligations should be a priority to avoid any potential penalties or legal consequences.

6. Stay in compliance: Ensure that you remain compliant with all tax regulations moving forward. This includes filing accurate tax returns and making timely payments.

Remember, addressing outstanding tax liabilities is important to maintain a good standing with the tax authorities and avoid any negative consequences. By taking proactive steps, seeking professional advice, and staying compliant, you can effectively resolve your outstanding tax issues.


File Form IR21 and Payroll Tax Clearance for Employers


When it comes to tax clearance for foreign or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) employees, companies in Singapore must adhere to a comprehensive set of guidelines outlined by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). It's important to note that the responsibility to file Form IR21 and withhold all monies due to the employee for tax clearance purposes lies squarely on the employer's shoulders.


The process begins with downloading the Form IR21 from the myTax portal or obtaining it via e-filing, depending on your preference. Employers must file the Form IR21 and notify IRAS when an employee, be it a non-Singapore citizen or SPR employee, ceases employment. Upon receiving a tax clearance directive from IRAS, employers are required to withhold all monies due to the employee, including Singapore Permanent Resident employees, such as overtime pay, leave pay, gratuity, and any other outstanding dues.

Failure to comply with this clearance directive could make it difficult for any foreign employee to leave Singapore, as IRAS may restrict their ability to depart the country.

To avoid any complications, businesses should promptly file the Form IR21 and withhold the required monies, ensuring compliance with Singapore's tax regulations.


For further assistance and guidance on this matter, employers can get in touch with IRAS or seek clarification via the myTax portal to streamline the filing of tax clearance and release the withheld monies within the stipulated business days. This responsible approach not only ensures adherence to tax laws but also contributes to combating tax evasion in Singapore.


Some Facts About Unlocking the Secrets of IR21 Tax Clearance: A Comprehensive Guide for Singapore Expatriates:

  • ✅ Form IR21 is a tax clearance document required in Singapore when a foreign employee leaves the country for more than three months, takes up an overseas contract, or terminates employment.

  • ✅ Employers are responsible for filing Form IR21 and notifying the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) at least one month before their employees leave. (

  • ✅ Tax clearance is not required for Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents (SPR) who are not leaving Singapore permanently after ceasing employment.

  • ✅ Non-Singapore citizens may not need to file Form IR21 if they meet certain conditions, such as earning less than $21,000 annually or working for a short period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is responsible for filing Form IR21 for tax clearance?

Employers in Singapore are responsible for filing Form IR21 for tax clearance when their foreign employees leave the country for more than three months, take up an overseas contract, or terminate employment.


Are there any cases where tax clearance is not required?

Yes, tax clearance is not required for Singapore citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents who won't leave the country permanently after termination, and non-Singapore citizens who earn less than S$21,000 annually. Employees posted overseas may also be exempt if their overseas work period is less than six months, they maintain a valid work pass, and their Singapore employer continues to pay them.


How do I file Form IR21 for tax clearance?

Form IR21 can be filed electronically through the IRAS's myTaxPortal using CorpPass credentials. Employers should enter the employee's income figures for the year of departure and withhold any pending dues.


How long does it take for the IRAS to process a filed Form IR21?

The IRAS takes about 7 working days to process electronically filed Form IR21 and about 21 days for paper-filed forms.


Do employees on overseas postings require tax clearance?

No, tax clearance is not required for employees on an overseas posting if they are away for a period not exceeding six months, return to Singapore to work for the same employer, and continue to hold a valid work pass under the same employer.


What are the consequences for tax defaulters?

Tax defaulters may face legal actions, such as selling restrictions and administrative concessions, initiated by the IRAS. It is a legal requirement for employers to fulfill their role in the tax clearance process and withhold payment of monies due until the IRAS clears the employees.


Get In Touch with Impact Best Pte Ltd to get your Employee IR21 issues resolved


To address your employee IR21 issues efficiently, don't hesitate to get in touch with Impact Best Pte Ltd. We understand the importance of promptly resolving tax clearance matters for both foreign and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) employees. It is crucial to recognize that the responsibility to file the necessary forms, including responding to the directive to pay tax and seeking tax clearance from IRAS, rests squarely with the employer.


When you reach out to us via our Contact form, you can expect dedicated support in navigating the intricacies of tax clearance. Our team is committed to ensuring a smooth process, from the initial notification to release monies to the final clearance. We understand the significance of compliance in Singapore's efforts to combat tax evasion (i.e., Prohibited Tax Practices), and as such, we take our role seriously.


Rest assured that when you engage with Impact Best Pte Ltd, your tax clearance concerns will be addressed promptly and efficiently, ensuring that your employees' IR21 issues are resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Your company's responsibility in this regard is crucial, and we are here to provide the necessary expertise and support through our livechat.

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