Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) Scheme

The NOR scheme extends favourable tax treatment to qualifying individuals for a period of five consecutive years. A NOR taxpayer will enjoy the benefit of time apportionment of employment income, that is, he pays income tax on only that part of his employment income that corresponds with the number of days he spends in Singapore. In addition, the NOR taxpayer gets to enjoy tax exemption on contributions made by the employer to an overseas pension fund which would otherwise be taxable in his hands.

Qualifying for NOR Scheme

To enjoy the tax concessions, you have to apply for the NOR status. To qualify for the NOR status, you must be a non-resident in the past three years of assessment (YA); and in that YA in which you first qualify for the NOR status, you must be a Singapore tax resident.

If you meet these qualifying conditions, you will be accorded the NOR status for five consecutive YAs, starting from the YA in which you first meet the criteria.

You can use the NOR status calculator(92KB) to check your eligibility.

You can qualify for the NOR scheme from any YA if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a tax resident for that YA; and
  • You are a non-resident for three consecutive YAs immediately before that.

    If you wish to revoke the three-year administrative concession for an earlier YA and be taxed as a non-resident, your application must come in within four years from the YA following the year in which you have been assessed as a resident. If your application to revoke the three-year administrative concession is submitted after four years from the YA following the year in which you have been assessed as a resident, your application for the NOR scheme and tax concession will not be allowed.

If you commenced employment in Singapore on

You are non-resident for three years prior to your arrival

Tax residence in the year of arrival

You can qualify for NOR status from

You can enjoy NOR concessions from

01 Jan 2016


(> 183 days)

Yes 

Resident 

(under the 183-day resident rule)

YA 2017 to 2021

YA 2017 to 2021

01 Aug 2016                      
( < 183 days)

 Yes

If you opt to be treated as Resident under the three-year resident concession

YA 2017 to 2021                    

YA 2018 to 2021        

 

(You can enjoy the NOR concession only from YA 2018)

 01 Aug 2016

( < 183 days)

 Yes

Non-Resident  

(under the 183-day resident rule)

 

YA 2018 to YA 2022

 

If you have been assessed as a resident under the three-year administrative concession in the year of arrival, your assessment will be revised to assess you as a non-resident and additional tax will be payable.

 

Your application to be re-assessed as a non-resident must come in within four years from the YA following the year of arrival i.e. application to be assessed as a non-resident for YA 2017 must come in by 15 Apr 2021 or 18 Apr 2021 if you e-file your tax return. 

YA 2018 to 2022 

1 Aug 2011

(< 183 days)

Yes 

Non-Resident  

(under the 183-day resident rule)

 

YA 2013 to 2017

 

If you have been assessed as a resident under the three-year administrative concession in the year of arrival, your application to be re-assessed as a non-resident must come in within four years from the YA following the year of arrival.

 

If your application to be re-assessed as a non-resident for YA 2012 and NOR status for YA 2013 to YA 2017 is made in 2017 (i.e. after four years from the YA following the year of arrival), your application for NOR scheme will not be allowed. 

 

YA 2013 to 2017                      


 

Tax Concessions under the NOR Scheme

If you are accorded the NOR status, you can enjoy the following tax concessions during the NOR period as long as you are a tax resident in the respective YA and the qualifying conditions are fulfilled:

1. Time Apportionment of Singapore Employment Income

Under this concession, you will not be taxed on the portion of your Singapore employment income that corresponds to the number of days you have spent outside Singapore for business reasons, as a resident Singapore employee.

Qualifying Conditions

  1. You must have spent at least 90 days outside Singapore for business reasons; and 
  2. Your total Singapore employment income must be at least $160,000. If the tax on the apportioned income is less than 10% of your total employment income, you will still be subject to a tax of 10% of your total employment income.

Income Not Apportionable

You cannot apportion:

  1. Director's fees; and
  2. Any amount of income tax payable in Singapore that is borne, directly or indirectly, by your employer.

Calculating Number of Days Outside Singapore

Your presence in Singapore for any part of a day shall be counted as one day in Singapore.

Alternatively, as an administrative concession, you may choose to count only the day of arrival in Singapore as a day in Singapore (i.e. the day of departure from Singapore will be counted as a day outside Singapore). If you have left Singapore and returned on the same day, this will be considered as a day in Singapore.

You can enter your travel days in the NOR Travel Calculator (44KB). The NOR travel calculator will compute the number of days outside Singapore for you.

You left Singapore on 23 May and returned on 26 May. 23 May is not counted as a day in Singapore. The number of days outside Singapore is three days (23 May to 25 May).

2. Tax Exemption of Employer's Contribution to Non-Mandatory Overseas Pension Fund or Social Security Scheme

Under this concession, if you are a resident Singapore employee, tax exemption will be given to you on contribution made by your employer to any non-mandatory overseas contribution scheme subject to qualifying conditions.

This is provided that your employer does not claim a deduction for the contribution. The amount of exemption is subject to a cap.

Qualifying Conditions

  1. You are not a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident; and 
  2. Your Singapore employment income must be at least $160,000; and
  3. Your employer must not claim a deduction on contribution made to non-mandatory overseas pension or provident funds and social security schemes up to the NOR cap.

    If the contribution is not charged/recharged to any Singapore entity, you would not be able to enjoy the tax concession on the contribution made by your employer on or after 1 Jan 2014.

Your employer contributes to a pension welfare fund that was set up to supplement the national insurance scheme run by the government of your home country.

The contribution is not mandatory but your employer participates in the scheme according to social norms.
 
Generally, such contributions made by employers in line with social practice are not considered mandatory. You can claim NOR tax concession on employer's contribution to non-mandatory overseas pension fund or social security scheme subject to a cap, provided all the qualifying conditions are met. 

You have been posted from UK to work for the Singapore company on 1 Jan 2016.  Your salary and allowances of $200,000 is borne by the Singapore employer. In addition, your employer contributed $2,000 to your non-mandatory overseas contribution scheme. This contribution is borne by the UK company and not charged/recharged to the Singapore company. Your employer did not claim a deduction for the contribution.

As the employer’s contributions to the non-mandatory pension fund are not charged/recharged to any Singapore entity, you would not be able to enjoy the NOR tax concession on the contribution of $2,000.

Employees of Investment Holding Company, Tax-Exempt Body, Representative Office or Foreign Company Not Registered in Singapore

If you are employed by an investment holding company, a tax-exempt body, representative office or a foreign company not registered in Singapore, you would not be able to enjoy the tax concession on the contributions made by your employer to any non-mandatory overseas contribution scheme on or after 1 Jan 2014.

Employees of Service Company

If you are employed by a service company, you will continue to enjoy this tax concession provided your company prepares its tax computation based on "normal trading company" ("NTC") basis from YA 2016 (i.e. for accounting period ending in 2015) onwards.

Employees of a service company that adopts the "cost plus mark-up" ("CM") basis of tax assessment will not be able to enjoy this tax concession after YA 2015 (i.e. for accounting period ending in 2014).

You are employed by a service company that adopts the CM basis of tax assessment and its accounting period ends on 31 Jan.

Your employer contributed $2,000 and $1,000 to your non-mandatory overseas contribution scheme on 31 Jan 2014 and 31 Aug 2014 respectively. Your employer did not claim a deduction for the contribution.

You can enjoy tax exemption on the contribution of $2,000 made on 31 Jan 2014.

However, as the contribution of $1,000 on 31 Aug 2014 was made during your company's accounting period ending 2015 (basis period 1 Feb 2014 to 31 Jan 2015) and your company adopts the CM basis of tax assessment, you would not be able to enjoy the NOR tax concession on the contribution of $1,000.

Same scenario as in Example 3 (above) except that the employer decides to change its basis of tax computation from CM to NTC with effect from Year of Assessment 2016 (basis period 1 Feb 2014 to 31 Jan 2015).

In this case, you can enjoy the NOR tax concession on the contribution of $1,000 made on 31 Aug 2014 and hence you will not be taxed on the total contribution of $3,000.

Calculating the NOR Cap

The NOR cap is determined based on the total employer contribution to an approved mandatory or a non-mandatory overseas contribution scheme or to both.

It is computed based on CPF (Central Provident Fund) capping rules as if the employer had made contribution to the CPF for a Singapore citizen as required under the CPF Act.

If you do not claim the NOR tax concession, you will be taxed on your employer's contribution to an overseas pension fund or social security scheme in the year of contribution unless:

  1. The contribution is made under Social Security Schemes operated by the government of your home country and such contribution is compulsory even when you are working outside your home country; and
  2. The contribution is not borne by or no deduction is claimed by any company in Singapore.

Please submit these documents to support your claim that the contribution is not taxable:

  1. State regulations of your home country; and 
  2. The relevant letters from your employer to confirm that the company is not claiming tax deduction for the contribution made.

 For more information, please refer to Concessionary Tax Treatment on Overseas Pension / Provident Fund Contributions.

Applying for NOR Scheme

Please submit the Application for Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR Scheme) (309KB), Appendices and Form IR8A/Appendix 8A/8B with your annual tax return by 15 Apr of the YA in which you have qualified for the scheme and/or tax concessions.

If you e-File your tax return, please submit the application form to IRAS by 18 Apr of that YA. You can use the NOR status calculator (92KB) to check your eligibility.

If the application form is not submitted by the due date, no tax concession will be allowed to you.

The NOR Appendices A/B have to be certified by an authorised personnel of the company. If you are an authorised signatory of the company and are claiming NOR tax concession, your Appendices A/ B must be certified by another authorised personnel.

Yearly Application of NOR Tax Concessions

If your application is successful and you are accorded the NOR status, it will run for five consecutive years. You are required to submit the Application for Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) Scheme (309KB) by 15 Apr (18 Apr if you e-File your tax return) each year during the NOR period in which you will be claiming the tax concessions.

If the application form is not submitted by the due date, no tax concession would be allowed to you.

During the annual filing cycle

Due date for application for

NOR status (one-time application together with annual tax return)

NOR concessions (yearly application together with annual tax return)

Year 2017

15 Apr 2017

15 Apr 2017

Year 2018

Not Applicable

15 Apr 2018

Year 2019

Not Applicable

15 Apr 2019

Year 2020

Not Applicable

15 Apr 2020

Year 2021

Not Applicable

15 Apr 2021

Late Application of NOR Status / Tax Concessions

We review late submissions for the NOR status, but you will not enjoy the tax concession(s) for the YAs concerned.

Example:

If you file on

NOR status applied for

NOR concessions applied for

NOR status granted for

NOR concession granted for

08 Nov 2016YA 2016 to 2020YA 2016YA 2016 to 2020No concession
14 Apr 2017YA 2016 to 2020YA 2016 & 2017YA 2016 to 2020YA 2017

After the Five-Year Qualifying Period

The NOR status will lapse after the five-year qualifying period. You can apply for the NOR status anew if you meet the qualifying conditions again.

In considering the qualifying three YAs that you need to be a non-resident, all YAs for which you are a non-resident, including any such YA that may fall within an earlier five-year qualifying period for which you were accorded the NOR status, will be taken into account in deciding if you qualify as a NOR taxpayer for a subsequent five-year period.

 

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