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Forum Reply: Employers are required to file tax clearance for foreign employees

We refer to the letter “Who should ensure that foreign workers pay income tax” (20 April) in Lianhe Zaobao by Mr Liu Mu Tian.

Under normal circumstances, employers are required to pay their employees at least once a month and within seven days after the end of the salary period. However, upon cessation of employment for non-Singapore citizen employees, the employer is required to pay for the employee’s taxes by withholding his salary. Any monies withheld in excess of the employee’s tax liability must be returned to him once his tax clearance is finalised.

However, in cases where the employer is unable to withhold any monies as in the case of Mr Liu, the employer should provide IRAS with the reason(s) when filing tax clearance. Employers who have valid reason(s) (e.g. employee left without notice and there is no monies due to the employee that can be withheld by the employer) for not withholding monies from the employee will not be liable for taxes owed by the employee.

We have reached out to Mr Liu to address his concerns directly.


Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy
Divisional Director
Labour Relations & Workplaces Division
Ministry of Manpower

Ms Kelly Wee
Director (Corporate Communications)
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore