Tag Archive for opportunity

Tax Return – a Nightmare!!

I always knew moving between Countries where there is a different calendar tax-year was going to have some challenges – but I really didn’t know it would create such a nightmare.

I previously came out on my work secondment in the second half of 2011 – and this was called a tax-neutral status between the UK and Singapore – noting that I remained on the UK pay-roll, and simply had to return within 183 days to avoid any tax declarations in Singapore. I obviously adhered to this to prevent any immigration or taxation issues – and I thought it would be smooth to return back to Singapore. What I didn’t realise is that a form submission was not provided to the IRS (Singapore tax Authorities) which meant that they felt I owed the Singapore tax for 2011. I received a letter shortly after my arrival in early 2013, stating that they estimated my overdue tax was approx S$9100. Of course, I knew this was an error – but when they threaten that I can’t leave Singapore until I settle this tax liability, it did frighten me.

Anyway, I had to go through a bit of hoops to close this out – and my employer was very good to supporting me to get HMRC (UK Tax Authorities) to declare that I was a UK resident and paid and settled my taxes in the UK, during the time I was in Singapore. This was sent to the IRS and they accepted this and provided me an exemption declaration – phew. Unfortunately, during this process, the HMRC then felt I had to manually complete a 2011/2012 tax return, as they then felt I had paid too much tax. I have now requested that this gets closed out, as I do feel this is not the case, and I settled the right taxes during 2011/12 in the UK.

Then there was another issue, as I moved out in 1st Jan 2013, the HMRC thought I had to provide a UK tax return for 2012/2013 (which tax year ended in April 2013), because they felt I earned money after leaving my UK employer in the first quarter of 2013. I didn’t, so had to go through another round of hoops to get this closed out by the HMRC. They accepted this, luckily! Phew.

Then the third twist, inadvertently I was entered in the Employer payroll as starting my SG employment on 2nd Jan 2013, and not 1st Jan. This meant that when I received my bonus in April 2014, one day of this was actually taxable in the UK payroll. This also meant that I received one-day pay from the UK too. The bonus has now been subsequently reversed out (although I now need to receive this from the SG payroll), but I also need to retrospectively refund my UK pay, and receive the extra day pay in SG. More importantly, as I have just filed my 2014 tax return (for Jan – Dec 2013), this meant it was missing 1-day pay. Man – this is such a complicated issue, and such a trivial matter can cause a huge problem. Lets hope this last bit gets resolved.

Morale of the story, stay very very close to your tax affairs as a simple admin glitch can cause huge problems later on.

Collection of my 2 Year Employment Pass

Well, as efficient as always, the Ministry of Manpower confirmed that my card was ready for pick-up on Friday, 11th January – only took a few days, having provided my biometrics on Monday.

I can now work legally for a couple of years (at least) in Singapore.  The final piece has slotted into place very nicely.  It does feel good!

Mum returns to Hong Kong

Well it’s time to say good bye to mum for the moment.  She enjoyed her holiday and I think it was good that she was able to help me settle in to my apartment – it was such a task to do on my own, that an extra pair of hands was very helpful.  Even just visiting the dozen or so apartments took it out of me.

So mum now returns to Hong Kong this afternoon before she makes her way back to the UK on 15th January.  Lets see when she returns back out :)  Hehe!

Return to Singapore – time to settle into my apartment :)

Well, after a very relaxing trip to Hong Kong, eating, drinking, sightseeing and shopping (repeating this continously!), it was time to say goodbye to the cooler climate (that is “cooler” than Singapore – but “warmer” than the UK) and enjoy the time back in my new location.  I should really start calling Singapore my new “home” location – hehe.

Anyway, having arrived late on Friday, 28th December – the JetStar flight was quite uneventful, although slightly more turbulent than last time.  I decided to book the Hotel Re! at Pearl Hill (in Outram Park district) for the night, as I wasn’t sure I was able to pick-up the key of my new apartment on Friday from my agent.

It was nice being back at the hotel – and we had one final meal in and around China Town, before making it back to the hotel.  On Saturday, we decided to make those final purchases around China Town before returning back to the hotel to collect our luggage to go to the new Condo Apartment.  I think I’m getting there with all of the purchases – but until I move in and unpack, I really don’t know what other things I need to buy (apart from things for the kitchen and lounge area).

Going to definitely be a bit stressful for the next couple of days before I start to prepare my mind for my first day of work in the new team.

Condo Hunting – How joyful!

Apartment (condo) hunting is very tiring work – after seeing about 10 or so places from a couple of different agents, I think I’m condo’ed out!

I think I started really badly because I set my rental range too high – about S$4,000, my mum suggested that I reduce the range to S$2,500-3,000 to ensure I don’t spend more than I should on the accommodation. I think this is wise, as part of the purpose of coming to Singapore is to continue to enjoy the lifestyle and region. What made this decision more difficult is that I did so after seeing a few really nice apartments at the original S$4,000 range – hey-ho.

After short listing a few – I think Newton Edge, Alexis, 8-Woodleigh and One-North Residences were the apartment condos that’s I was very interest in, I continued to search on www.propertyguru.com.sg and found one at Novena called Suites@Shrewsbury. It was pretty reasonable at the S$2,900 rental range and was located at 84 Shrewsbury Road. It was a bit cramped inside, but suitably located near the local facilities and amenities in the Novena area – walking distance from the Novena MRT, so the red North-South MRT line to Marina Bay.

So I went for this – hopefully it means my needs. It was only partial furnished, so I sense a visit to Ikea is needed once the lease agreement has been signed. I now need to sort out the deposit, paperwork and then I will have an official base in Singapore :). Saved money to spend on Guinness too – hehe…

First Day – and a visit to the MBFC Office

Well I thought I’d be a loyal worker and arranged to pick-up my work blackberry from the office.  Actually, it was great going through the routine the taking the MRT from my hotel to Raffles Place and walk through the mall to the Marina Bay Financial Centre office. Certainly brings back fond memories.

The thing that made this different was that I had to sign in as a visitor as I haven’t officially started yet :)

I picked up my blackberry – which should have taken all of 5 minutes, but about 30 minutes later, I was still chatting way to some of the great folks at the office. It was a great time to catch-up – and probably the only time that I could really ‘dress-down’ without anyone batting an eyelid – haha!

I am finitely looking forward to return on the 2nd January 2013 to start my new work routine…2013 is going to be all-change for me!!!

My Singapore Life Starts today

Today, it is the start of a new chapter in my life, as I start my new adventure in Singapore. you may recall that I previously worked in Singapore on a secondment (placement) during the second half of 2011. The challenge was that this was such a short period, I really only felt settled after about 4-5 months, at which point I had to prepare to leave.

I turned to my home team in the UK, but with the intention to find a more permanent role in Singapore. Fortunately, I have now achieved this permanent relocation – and I am about to become a full expat with all the trimmings to finally get used to the Singapore life for good!

Not only is this a bold and huge move, it is also a scary episode in my life, with some elements of uncertainty and definitely a few unknowns, but actually I like the test of being slightly outside of my comfort zone. I am certainly up for the challenge and my head and heart both feel this is the right time to make this move.

So today, I am flying out and going to start sorting out the logistics to support my move. Do wish me luck :). My Singapore Adventure – the next chapter starts today!

Arrival at Singapore – as efficient as always!

Well what should I expect? I arrived promptly at 8am, it took a few moments to disembark from the lovely Singapore Airlines A380 Airbus – and after a walk down from the gate, I arrived in a few minutes at the Immigration desk. I provided my Employment Pass (EP) and the stamp duly appeared in my passport and I was once again in Singapore officially!

A few more minutes, my luggage appeared (it literally as minutes later), and my baggage was about the third or forth to appear on the belt. I picked up my two bags, my hand luggage and ruck-sack and joined the taxi ‘queue’ – when I say queue it was more like a mystery line – as I was magically at the front before I blinked. The taxi arrived, and in about 15 minutes I once again had left the airport in a taxi heading for the hotel!

Only in Singapore :)

Singapore Airlines – One Way Ticket

It is very surreal buying a one-way ticket, the first time in my life that I’ve done so – this was when it became real to me that I was embarking on a new chapter of my life in Singapore.

BUT, I am excited about the challenge that awaits me, and I must admit I still enjoyed the Business Class flight out (thanks to the great service on Singapore Airlines).  This time, I made sure I wasn’t over my Baggage allowance, having decided to not ship anything out from the UK (except what I checked-in) – I checked-in two large suitcases (which equated to almost 40kg, which SIA didn’t charge the excess for (30kg is the normal Business Class allowance – phew!).  I also took on board my PS3 in my back-pack, and another cabin-sized suitcase with other bits and bobs…and my mum carried over another suitcase of belongings with hers to HK.  I guess I’d only need to worry about how to get the stuff back when I eventually return to the UK :)

Talking about Business Class – it was a nice and relaxing journey, and the 12.5 hours simply flew by (excuse the pun) – the food was excellent, as always…as you can see below :)

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