Income earned by non-resident public entertainers is subject to withholding tax. Taxable income includes both cash and non-cash payments less deductible expenses.

Taxable Income Subject to Withholding Tax

Gross income refers to both cash and non-cash payments and includes, but not limited to:

For artistes

  • Artiste fees
  • Allowances e.g. per diem
  • Benefits-in-kind 

For sportsmen

  • Match fees
  • Prize money
  • Tournament winnings
  • Win bonuses
  • Allowances e.g. per diem
  • Benefits-in-kind
  • Non-cash gifts/prizes exceeding $100

Non-Taxable Income (Not Subject to Withholding Tax)

As a concession, the following benefits provided by the payer are not taxable:

  • Accommodation (excluding value of food) for short-term engagement of 60 days or less in any calendar year; and
  • Cost of airfare.

Where accommodation is provided for 61 days and above in a calendar year, the cost of accommodation for the entire stay is taxable.

Deductible Expenses

Only expenses which are wholly and exclusively incurred by the non-resident public entertainer in the production of the Singapore-sourced income and which are not reimbursed by the payer are deductible against the gross income.

Concession on Deductible Expenses

As a concession, the following costs incurred by the non-resident public entertainer are deductible:

  • Accommodation (excluding value of food) for short-term engagement of 60 days or less in any calendar year; and
  • Cost of airfare.

Where the stay in Singapore is for 61 days and above in a calendar year, the cost of accommodation for the entire stay is not deductible.

Non-Deductible Expenses

  • Private expenses (e.g. value of food and ground transfers to and from airport); and
  • Expenses incurred to put the public entertainer in a position to earn the income (e.g. transport expenses incurred from hotel to venue of service and back).

FAQs

#1 Deduction of Food and Transport Expenses

Can I deduct my food and transport expenses from the gross income?

No, food and transport expenses are considered private expenses that were not incurred to earn your income.

#2 Deduction of Airfare and Accommodation

Can I deduct the cost of the airfare and accommodation incurred by me from the gross income?

You can deduct the cost of airfare incurred by you from your gross income.

For accommodation, you can deduct the cost of accommodation incurred for short-term engagement of not more than 60 days in the calendar year from your gross income.

Where accommodation is incurred for more than 60 days in the calendar year, the cost of the entire stay is not deductible.

#3 Non-Cash Gifts and Prize Money

Competition winners usually receive non-cash gifts such as trophies, souvenirs or tokens in addition to the prize money. Are such gifts subject to withholding tax?

No, if the gift is not substantial in value and is not a form of disguised payment for services. As a guide, a gift is of substantial value if it exceeds $100. If a gift's value is $100 or more, the full value of the gift is subject to withholding tax.

The threshold of $100 is applicable per event. For example, if a sportsman has won a gift in two events, both gifts are not subject to withholding tax if each gift does not exceed $100.