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.