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Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Old Jun 29th 2022, 12:56 pm
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Default Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Hi everyone.

I would like to move to Malaysia where my wife comes from and keep my current job and employer.

At the moment, I live and work in the UK, but my company has an office in Singapore and I could be moved there. Is there anything that could block my company to hire me in Singapore even if I don't live there? Like whether I need a physical address for tax or other bureaucracy thing.

Thanks
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Does it make a difference where your employer is if you'll be working remotely from Malaysia anyway? If you want to keep your current job and employer (and they're happy for you to work from Malaysia), then why not just stay with the UK office? You will be tax resident wherever you are working, not where your office is.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 1:52 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
Does it make a difference where your employer is if you'll be working remotely from Malaysia anyway? If you want to keep your current job and employer (and they're happy for you to work from Malaysia), then why not just stay with the UK office? You will be tax resident wherever you are working, not where your office is.
Wow, super fast reply, thanks!

My manager doesn't really mind if I am in the UK while working, so from an operational point of view, I could work outside UK, but I think my employer needs me to be resident in the country for tax and this kind of stuff. To be honest, I don't have idea if I can work, be taxed, pay pension in UK, but be resident somewhere else. Do you?

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Old Jun 29th 2022, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by Pier View Post
Wow, super fast reply, thanks!

My manager doesn't really mind if I am in the UK while working, so from an operational point of view, I could work outside UK, but I think my employer needs me to be resident in the country for tax and this kind of stuff. To be honest, I don't have idea if I can work, be taxed, pay pension in UK, but be resident somewhere else. Do you?
Where would you actually be working? You'd be tax resident in Malaysia if that's where you're working, you can't choose to pay tax elsewhere (if you could, we'd all choose to pay tax in Monaco right?!). So no, you can't pay tax in the UK if you're not tax resident there (although you can still make voluntary National Insurance contributions to your pension from abroad). It may be that you have to become self employed in Malaysia and just invoice your company and sort your own taxes.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by Pier View Post
.... My manager doesn't really mind if I am in the UK while working, so from an operational point of view, I could work outside UK, but I think my employer needs me to be resident in the country for tax and this kind of stuff. To be honest, I don't have idea if I can work, be taxed, pay pension in UK, but be resident somewhere else. Do you?
Under almost all circumstances someone is tax resident/ pays their income and payroll taxes in the country where they are actually living and working, not where their employer's office is located, not where they told their employer they were living and working, and not at the address that they gave to the taxing authority when they took their current job. So while I have no specific knowledge about income taxes in Malaysia or Singapore, I would expect that if you live and work 100% of the time in Malaysia that you would be tax resident and pay income and payroll taxes (NI) in Malaysia irrespective of what office your employment is linked to, which office you are paid from, or where your bank account is where you receive your pay.

I have no knowledge of the tax arrangements between Malaysia and Singapore, but I would expect that if you split your work time between WFH in Malaysia and commuting to the office in Singapore that your income taxes will be messy because I expect that Singapore will want income tax in respect of earnings for the time you spent working in Singapore and that Malaysia will want income tax in respect of earnings for the time you spent working at home in Malaysia. That said, as small as Singapore is, I would guess that living in Malaysia and working in Singapore would not be unusual.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 29th 2022 at 2:32 pm.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
Where would you actually be working? You'd be tax resident in Malaysia if that's where you're working, you can't choose to pay tax elsewhere (if you could, we'd all choose to pay tax in Monaco right?!). So no, you can't pay tax in the UK if you're not tax resident there (although you can still make voluntary National Insurance contributions to your pension from abroad). It may be that you have to become self employed in Malaysia and just invoice your company and sort your own taxes.
I am not sure I was clear, I would be fine to keep working in UK and be taxed there, but doing it remotely from Malaysia. What I would like to understand if I need to be resident in the UK to be employed in the UK.

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Under almost all circumstances someone is tax resident/ pays their income and payroll taxes in the country where they are actually living and working, not where their employer's office is located, not where they told their employer they were living and working, and not at the address that they gave to the taxing authority when they took their current job. So while I have no specific knowledge about income taxes in Malaysia or Singapore, I would expect that if you live and work 100% of the time in Malaysia that you would be tax resident and pay income and payroll taxes (NI) in Malaysia irrespective of what office your employment is linked to, which office you are paid from, or where your bank account is where you receive your pay.

I have no knowledge of the tax arrangements between Malaysia and Singapore, but I would expect that if you split your work time between WFH in Malaysia and commuting to the office in Singapore that your income taxes will be messy because I expect that Singapore will want income tax in respect of earnings for the time you spent working in Singapore and that Malaysia will want income tax in respect of earnings for the time you spent working at home in Malaysia. That said, as small as Singapore is, I would guess that living in Malaysia and working in Singapore would not be unusual.
I think doing mmh2 (malaysian my second home), I could live in Malaysia and if I understood correctly, I could do without paying taxes. I found this "Malaysia does not currently impose tax overseas income so any money transferred into the country will be tax free".

So, I wouldn't have to pay tax in the UK and Malaysia.



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Old Jun 29th 2022, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

As far as I’m aware you cannot work if you have an MM2H visa. Our MM2H visa states this.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by Pier View Post
I am not sure I was clear, I would be fine to keep working in UK and be taxed there, but doing it remotely from Malaysia. What I would like to understand if I need to be resident in the UK to be employed in the UK.



I think doing mmh2 (malaysian my second home), I could live in Malaysia and if I understood correctly, I could do without paying taxes. I found this "Malaysia does not currently impose tax overseas income so any money transferred into the country will be tax free".

So, I wouldn't have to pay tax in the UK and Malaysia.
I'm thoroughly confused. How are you working in the UK if you're doing it remotely from Malaysia? You're not working in the UK then?

You're correct that you won't pay taxes in both places, you'll pay wherever you are tax resident (i.e. where you are living and working), and unless I'm misunderstanding, that will be Malaysia (where the company is located isn't relevant).

So for example, I worked for years for a Canadian company from the UK. My boss was in Canada, I was the only UK employee, but of course I couldn't pay tax in Canada as I didn't live there so I paid taxes in the UK. I was registered as self employed, just invoiced the company monthly, and then paid my taxes via self assessment at the end of each year (and National Insurance). From what you've said, you'll have to do similar but in Malaysia.

Last edited by christmasoompa; Jun 29th 2022 at 3:05 pm.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by Pier View Post
..... I could live in Malaysia and if I understood correctly, I could do without paying taxes. I found this "Malaysia does not currently impose tax overseas income so any money transferred into the country will be tax free".

So, I wouldn't have to pay tax in the UK and Malaysia.
But if you're living and working in Malaysia it is not "overseas income", you would be a local worker, tax resident in Malaysia, and liable for Malaysian income and payroll taxes.

And if you are resident in Malaysia, or anywhere else outside the UK, you are certainly not tax resident in the UK and are not liable for UK income and NI.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by hnd View Post
As far as I’m aware you cannot work if you have an MM2H visa. Our MM2H visa states this.
Mm...this is confusing me because in a website that looks quite reliable (I don't think I can put the link here, but searching for mmh2 is the first one you find) says: "Malaysia does not currently impose tax overseas income so any money transferred into the country will be tax free. [...] Some MM2H visa holders have their income taxed at source in the country where it is paid"

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
I'm thoroughly confused. How are you working in the UK if you're doing it remotely from Malaysia? You're not working in the UK then?

You're correct that you won't pay taxes in both places, you'll pay wherever you are tax resident (i.e. where you are living and working), and unless I'm misunderstanding, that will be Malaysia (where the company is located isn't relevant).

So for example, I worked for years for a Canadian company from the UK. My boss was in Canada, I was the only UK employee, but of course I couldn't pay tax in Canada as I didn't live there so I paid taxes in the UK. I was registered as self employed, just invoiced the company monthly, and then paid my taxes via self assessment at the end of each year (and National Insurance). From what you've said, you'll have to do similar but in Malaysia.
Yeah, that was my first idea as it would make everything easier, but my company want me as "permanent" and they are not happy to have me as contractor. Hope they change their mind because otherwise I don't see other solution. (When earlier I said "working in UK", I meant that my office is actually in the UK, but I would have worked from Malaysia.)

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
But if you're living and working in Malaysia it is not "overseas income", you would be a local worker, tax resident in Malaysia, and liable for Malaysian income and payroll taxes.

And if you are resident in Malaysia, or anywhere else outside the UK, you are certainly not tax resident in the UK and are not liable for UK income and NI.
Well, if for some reason I am allowed to be resident in Malaysia, but having my employer based in the UK, my income would be overseas income because it would come from UK. (I need to check properly this. I don't think it will be nice visiting Malaysian prisons in case I am wrong).

I sent my request to HR, let's see if they have any idea that could work. Thanks for your help
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 4:32 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by Pier View Post
.... Well, if for some reason I am allowed to be resident in Malaysia, but having my employer based in the UK, my income would be overseas income because it would come from UK. (I need to check properly this. I don't think it will be nice visiting Malaysian prisons in case I am wrong).
That is not how tax law works. Income tax on employment income is based on where (which country) the worker is physically located while they are doing the work. As you correctly note, even if your employer is OK with your proposal, if things go wrong in Malaysia, it is you who will be held accountable.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 5:25 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by Pier View Post
Mm...this is confusing me because in a website that looks quite reliable (I don't think I can put the link here, but searching for mmh2 is the first one you find) says: "Malaysia does not currently impose tax overseas income so any money transferred into the country will be tax free. [...] Some MM2H visa holders have their income taxed at source in the country where it is paid"

Well, if for some reason I am allowed to be resident in Malaysia, but having my employer based in the UK, my income would be overseas income because it would come from UK. (I need to check properly this. I don't think it will be nice visiting Malaysian prisons in case I am wrong).
I don’t think that would count as overseas income, as it’s from work done in Malaysia. Overseas income would be things like income from a rental property in the UK. But it seems this may all be a moot point anyway, if you’re not allowed to work on the visa as per the response above.
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Old Jun 29th 2022, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
I don’t think that would count as overseas income, as it’s from work done in Malaysia. Overseas income would be things like income from a rental property in the UK. But it seems this may all be a moot point anyway, if you’re not allowed to work on the visa as per the response above.
The Wikpedia page on MM2H visas makes only one reference to working, and that says " Working part-time: Over 50 year olds can work part-time (maximum 20 hours a week) subject to approval." It appears that that is a concession, and by implication anyone under 50 cannot work at all, and nobody of any age, can work for more than 20 hours per week.
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Old Jul 2nd 2022, 5:42 am
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

Hi Pier, you can achieve most of what you want to do but the situation with regards to Malaysia is not exactly what has been described by the others.

You could go down the well-trodden MM2H route but be aware that the programme has changed significantly in the last year and no-one in their right mind will be taking up the revised MM2H offering. But there is a thing called S-MM2H which should now be your focus of attention.

Malaysia consists or West Malaysia, otherwise known as peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (comprising the Sabah and Sarawak states). This is important, because the states of West Malaysia are closely aligned on immigration issues whereas the East Malaysian states have a degree of autonomy. Thus whilst West Malaysia retains the MM2H visa, unattractive as it may now be, Sarawak actually has its own S-MM2H visa. Sabah currently falls under the West Malaysia MM2H rules but the government has agreed that they can introduce their own programme in the future.

I’m not going to go into the details of MM2H and S-MM2H, as this information is both on the forum and on the web, suffice to say that both MM2H and S-MM2H are long-term tourist visas - they do not confer in and of themselves any tax advantages which are not already open to all Malaysian citizens. Malaysia currently operates a largely territorial tax system and consequently does not tax any income arising outside its territory. If you become tax resident in Malaysia this means you too would not pay any tax on income arising outside Malaysia whether or not it is remitted to Malaysia. This may, of course, change in the future.

You can become tax-resident in Malaysia simply by virtue of living there for more than 180 days in your first year, thus being able to get a Malaysian TIN from the tax authorities, using your stamped passport as proof. The 180-day rule is a little more flexible in subsequent years.

As regards working, it is best to assume that you cannot work at all in Malaysia, but working from Malaysia for an employer outside the territory is allowed and is, indeed, common place.

You should maybe now do your own research on this (knowing that there is a solution available) as there are other visas available, including the Labuan visa, and one of these may suit your circumstances better, but which I know little about.
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Old Jul 5th 2022, 7:48 am
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Default Re: Work based in Singapore, but living in Malaysia

It is interesting to read that OP only focuses on an MM2H visa, and not investigates a spouse visa. Has this avenue already been crossed out?
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