A unique key unlocking Singapore’s tax puzzle is the tax identification number, referred to as TIN. Because of this 9-10 digit number, individuals and business organizations are seamlessly connected to their financial obligations, ensuring a harmonious blend between tax regulations and national development.
A taxpayer identification number Singapore, is a unique number assigned to each taxpayer for filing taxes, registering for tax-related schemes, and other government transactions. Under the category of TIN, there are two commonly associated terminologies:
- TRN- Tax reference number assigned to permanent residents of Singapore to proceed with their tax-related activities, and it is assigned by the government agency known as IRAS (inland revenue authority of Singapore)
- UEN- Unique entity number is the identifier dedicated to business organizations to handle the tax-filing process, and it is assigned by ACRA (Accounting and Corporate regulatory authority) of Singapore.
Apart from tax filing, TRN and UEN are also used in other activities, such as applying for loans, fulfilling employment contracts and remittance of CPF payments, and applying for export and import permits. For businesses using UEN in Singapore, it wasn’t always a regular norm for them until and unless the concept of UEN was introduced in 2003, following the revised regulatory framework and newly implemented business policies.
Earlier, TIN was widely used uniformly for tax-related transactions for individuals and businesses. There are certain business types which are exempted from the acquisition of UEN, and they are:
- Organizations with limited transactions with government agencies are as low as a single or zero transaction.
- Branch offices or sub-divisional entities of a business organization.
Which business organizations require UEN necessarily?
All the companies who operate from Singapore and plan to conduct the same in the long run must get a UEN, and they consist of the following:
- Local businesses
- Limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
- Trade unions
- Representative offices
- Healthcare institutions
How can businesses optimize UEN?
Apart from all the tax-related purposes, there are various other occasions where UEN actively contributes to the seamless navigation of other business complexities:
- Facilitating transactions in the virtual domain as this unique code ensures that the correct entity is credited or debited for any business transaction, and it also serves as a tool to track the company’s profile and other information from the government website.
- Acquiring a corporate bank account is only possible with the availability of UEN, as banks and financial institutions use this unique code to detect a company’s filings and financial transactions to determine whether to assign a business account.
- Forming a business alliance through an agreement or contract with other organizations hailing from Singapore requires UEN.
How can newly incorporated companies obtain UEN?
For businesses, different agencies assign UEN depending on the nature of the business, for example:
- ACRA issues UEN to local and foreign companies
- All the non-profit organizations and charitable institutions like NGOs and orphanages receive UEN from the Ministry of Culture, community and youth development.
- Ministry of Manpower assigns UEN to trade unions.
- Registry of societies to registered societies.
Some frequently asked questions about UEN:
Are UEN and GST the same thing?
Both codes are the same for local companies registered under ACRA, except for foreign businesses.
How is UEN different from the ROC number?
ROC stands for Registrar of Companies, completely different from UEN, as the registrar authority assigns it to any business entity.
Is UEN changeable in future?
The answer is NO! Once this unique identification code is assigned to you, it is not changeable until and unless you begin with a new business venture from scratch or restructure the operating model of the existing business.
Is it possible to have more than one UEN?
UEN is a single code valid for all official transactions, and issuing agencies cannot assign more than one UEN.
How to renew the UEN?
Businesses need not renew their UEN once assigned, but for sole proprietorship and partnership, if the UEN is required to be maintained after the completion of the designated duration, a renewal process of registration must be initiated.
These were some of the necessary information related to the usage of UEN in Singapore, and anyone planning to start a business must apply for UEN, and it is also doable online or through a business registration office. It is probably one of the crucial elements of business infrastructure in Singapore that is also a powerful tool used by the government to closely monitor all tax-related transactions.