US Singapore Tax Treaty for Americans Abroad

August 22, 2022 | | 8 minute read
Expat Tax Blog. Tax Tips for US Americans abroad.

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Image of Singapore Gardens a place expats might visit when living there. Is there a US Singapore Tax treaty?

Singapore is widely known for its global culture. There’s no wonder it attracts so many expats such as yourself! Outside of Singapore’s thriving business scene, Singapore shines through its cleanliness, low crime rate, and food paradise with Michelin star street food. Many ask about a popular destination for Americans living and working overseas: Is there a US Singapore Tax Treaty for Americans Abroad? Unfortunately, the answer is no. There is no US – Singapore Tax Treaty. But that’s not a reason to panic. There are other ways to avoid double taxation as an American in Singapore.

Who Needs to File US Expat Taxes from Singapore?

US citizens and US green card holders are required to file expat taxes with the US government each year, even if you’re residing in Singapore! Exceptions are those that do not surpass the minimum income thresholds.

Filing Status Income Threshold
Single $12,550
Married Filing Jointly $25,100
Married Filing Separately $5
Head of Household $18,800
Qualifying Widow(er) $25,100
Self-Employed* $400
IRS Minimum income thresholds for the 2021 tax year, filed in 2022

Does your 2021 income meet or exceed the Income Filing Threshold? If yes, you must file a US tax return for 2022. 

Expat Tax Tip: Those living in Singapore and married to a non-US citizen will likely file as Married Filing Separately, meaning an income as low as $5 requires a US tax return!

IRS Deadlines for US Expat Taxes in Singapore

Living in Singapore means different tax deadlines for Americans abroad! Rather than the traditional April 15th deadline, US expats have other deadlines to be mindful of: 

April.15 Standard Filing Deadline. You’re probably familiar with April 15th. For Expats, anyone who owes US Taxes must file by then as well.
June.15 Automatically extended deadline to file US Taxes from Singapore. Expats can file by June 15th without having to request an extension. It’s automatic.
Oct.15 Additional Expat Extension Deadline. Anyone who still needs more time can request an additional extension. Request the extension for free before June 15th. 
Dec.15 Final Special Extended Deadline. Do you need a lot of time to file? You can write to the IRS and request an even later deadline. You’ll have to give a good reason and need to file by then. There are no further extensions! Everything after December 15th is officially late.
Deadline in standard filing years.

When the April 15th deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, that deadline and the corresponding extensions are pushed forward. For example, in 2022, April 15th falls on a US Holiday, so the official filing date was April 18th, 2022. Just keep in mind the date for filing might be extended for expats. However, if you owe taxes, make sure you pay by the general deadline, as there is never an extension for payments.

Planning to eFile? The IRS typically accepts eFiled returns until about November. So don’t wait! You could run out of time.

Never Filed Abroad? Get Caught Up from Singapore

US citizens that have never lived in the United States, “Accidental Americans,” may be unaware of their duty to file a US tax return yearly. For those Accidental Americans behind on filing, we can help! 

Getting Caught Up using The Streamlined Procedure 

Accidental Americans and Americans abroad behind on their US tax returns can use the Streamlined Procedure to catch up. The Streamlined Procedure offers some forgiveness to persons unaware of their US income reporting responsibilities. Using The Streamlined Procedure, Americans can catch up on overdue returns by filing a limited number of back tax returns and FBARs. Best of all, it helps them avoid tax-evasion penalties from the IRS! 

Expat Tax Tip: Don’t wait! You need to file using The Streamlined Procedure BEFORE the IRS goes looking for you. If they catch you first, it will be too late.

Why does the IRS offer amnesty? Truthfully, it helps you as well as the IRS. The program encourages those unknowing to report their income and foreign assets and avoids the IRS chasing down accidental “tax evaders.”  

Filing US Taxes for Your Family Abroad 

Should I file Jointly or Separately from my Spouse? 

Filing jointly typically offers the best tax breaks for married people who live in the US. 

For those living outside the US, circumstances may be different. So how should I file when I’m married and living in Singapore? 

In short, It depends. First determine if your Spouse is legally required to file a US tax return. If Your Spouse is a US Citizen or Greencard Holder: The best option is likely Married-Filing-Jointly

Your Spouse is not a US Citizen or Greencard Holder? Then, filing as Married Filing Separately is usually best. If you live outside the US, your foreign Spouse does not have to file a US tax return. Many tax firms and programs, will force you to get an ITIN for your Non US Citizen Spouse, however it is not required to have one if you are Married Filing Separately to a NRA (Non Resident Alien) and MyExpatTaxes will get you e-filed without it.  

Child Tax Credits for Families Living Abroad 

Are you an expat parent and familiar with the Child Tax Credit? When living abroad, most expat parents qualify for the Child Tax Credit. It allows you to claim up to $1,400 per child in refundable child tax credits.  

What about the new, higher Child Tax Credit? To qualify for the higher credit, you need to live in the US for at least half of the tax year. Learn more about the specific Child Tax Credit Qualifications to see if you are eligible and just much you may receive. 

Expat Tax Tip:  MyExpatTaxes can confirm if you qualify for the refund. Have you already filed? You can ask a tax professional to review a previously filed US tax return to see if those are eligible too! 

You can also consider filing as Head of Household if you have dependent children and are married to a NRA. To qualify, you need to pay more than half of the expenses of maintaining your household and have a qualifying dependent.

Tax Forms Expats Should Know 

For expats in Singapore, there are a few tax forms expats should be familiar with

Let’s start with two typesof expat tax form categories: forms to help avoid double taxation and forms to report your foreign assets. 

Self-Employment Taxes as an American in Singapore

Are you living in Singapore AND self-employed? Luckily, filing your expat taxes as self-employed abroad, is not that different then filing when employed.

3 Things to know about self-employed US expats in Singapore: 

  1. Anyone who has an net profit of $400 from self-employment is required file a Tax Return
  2. Expats could pay about 15.3% of net profit in Self-Employment taxes to the US government as there is no Totalization Treaty to prevent this with Signapore
  3. If you’re planning to start your own business in Singapore, you must get an EntrePass

Read more about filing taxes for self-employed Americans.   

Basics of Investing as an American in Singapore 

Expats are held to strict guidelines for expats investing, but it’s still possible! There are many ways to invest your money while living abroad in Singapore. Once you learn the basic investing rules for expats, it’s easy – let’s get started! 

Common Ways to Invest in Singapore: 

  • Property: Singapore is known for its expensive property, but it can be worth it! You can buy property as an American expat for personal or investment purposes. 
  • IRAs/Roth IRAs: Start investing in your future! Expats can contribute up to $6,000 per year to their Retirement Accounts.  
  • US-based Stocks & Bonds: Straightforward investing can be done by keeping a US-based portfolio. When you invest in foreign investment products such as mutual funds based outside of America, Americans often have high fees and higher tax rates. 

Have you already invested in Singaporean or other foreign mutual funds? We’ve got you covered! MyExpatTaxes will help you use Form 8621 to report your investments (PFICs). 

Property in Singapore 

Buying: According to Bloomberg, Singapore is among the most expensive places in the world. Purchasing property in Singapore is no exception. With that in mind, if you’re ready to invest in property, learning about the opportunities for expats in Singapore is essential. 

Purchasing a home in Singapore is not a US taxable event. However, a large deposit into your Singaporean bank account for your new mortgage requires a report on the FBAR and possibly Form 8938.  

Read more: 8 Things to consider when buying property abroad

Perks of Buying in Singapore

  • The freedom to make your own decisions 
  • Potential to build equity and gain a return on your investment 
  • Singapore currently has a strong housing market 

Downsides to Buying in Singapore

  • One of the most expensive cities in the world for buying property 
  • There are restrictions for foreign buyers as of 2005 – government approval is required when purchasing apartments in buildings higher than six stories.

Renting Property in Singapore 

Although buying in Singapore is more common than renting, perhaps as an expat, you’re looking for a shorter commitment or hoping to try out a new neighborhood before committing! Take a look at the perks and downsides of renting in Singapore. 

Perks to Renting in Singapore

  • Flexibility! There’s less commitment to renting. You have the opportunity to explore what Singapore has to offer. 
  • Rentals are commonly “move-in ready” and held to a high standard of living – little fuss for incoming residents! 

Downsides to Renting in Singapore: 

  • Like buying, Singapore remains one of the most expensive cities for renting too!
  • CPF funds, a Singaporean pension plan, do not cover rent! 

The Foreign Housing Exclusion 

Whether you rent or buy, The Foreign Housing Exclusion is a valuable way to save on housing costs! This tax exclusion takes the following expenses into account: 

  • Rent 
  • Utilities 
  • Property Insurance 
  • Household repairs … and more! 

Retiring Abroad in Singapore 

It is difficult to obtain a Retirement Visa in Singapore – but not impossible! With long days and warm weather year-round, Singapore is a fantastic place to enjoy retirement! If you’re looking forward to retirement in Singapore, consider saving up through these accounts:

  • Pension through your employer – if you have a Singaporean employer, this is only taxable in Singapore. 
  • US Individual Retirement Account (IRA) 
  • US Social Security Benefits 

Get Help Filing From the Experts

MyExpatTaxes is here to help. After all, that reading, do you still have questions about expat taxes in Singapore? Browse the Help Center, get in touch with a tax professional, or file your tax return and with help via real human chat.

3 Reasons to use MyExpatTaxes when filing from Singapore:

  1. We’re the expat experts. We built MyExpatTaxes to help expats just like ourselves.
  2. Clear, transparent pricing. We pride ourselves on our affordable and clear pricing plans. No surprises from us! 
  3. E-file! We can e-file 99% of expat tax returns—no more printing off your tax forms and mailing them to Texas. With us, it’s easy to e-file online.

Written by Kaytlin L

August 22, 2022 | | 8 minute read

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