Have you ever come across the phrases “Tax Identification Number” or “Unique Entity Number” while dealing with Singapore government agencies? Well, these numbers hold immense significance in tax compliance.

Just like building the foundation of a game-changing network, comprehending the TIN system is crucial. So join us as we unravel the key points and the process of obtaining a TIN in Singapore through this article!

Overview of the Singapore Tax Identification Number

What does the Singapore Tax Identification Number (TIN) signify, and how important is it to your business? To begin with, TIN is an essential identifier for tax-related purposes, issued by the relevant authority to individuals, businesses, and other entities operating within Singapore.

Through this unique number, you can identify yourself with government agencies, primarily the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), during tax compliance processes (e.g. Goods & Services Tax registration).

Furthermore, this string of numbers serves several practical purposes. It may also be required when applying for export or import permits, remitting CPF payments as an employer, or engaging in financial transactions that involve tax-related considerations.

In other words, the TIN empowers the government to manage tax-related matters efficiently. By assigning a TIN to the subjects, the authority can monitor taxpayer activities and promptly identify discrepancies or irregularities. This allows for streamlined tax administration and facilitates targeted audits when necessary.

Different types of Tax Identification Number

In the case of Singapore, the government has offered various Tax Identification Number types, tailored to meet the specific needs of different individuals and businesses.

With that in mind, let’s delve into the main types of TINs and their features.

TINs for individuals

Each individual in Singapore is assigned to a specific TIN, depending on his/her residency status.

For Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents

Singapore citizens and permanent residents are identified by the National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number, assigned to them upon birth or becoming a permanent resident.

The NRIC consists of personal information such as a unique ID number, name, birth date, and nationality, and remains consistent throughout their lives. Among these details, the NRIC number is considered your TIN, or more commonly known as the Tax Reference Number (TRN) in Singapore.

Apart from ensuring the filing of personal income tax returns, this number is used for a variety of essential transactions. This includes opening bank accounts, applying for loans, credit cards, or fulfillment of employment requirements, etc.

For foreign individuals residing in Singapore with a work pass

While Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents use the identity number as TIN, a foreigner residing in Singapore uses a Foreign Identification Number (FIN) instead.

These individuals must hold a valid work permit or work pass (e.g. Employment Pass, Immigration Pass) to prove their commitment to the country and be eligible for a FIN. By tracking the FIN code, the government can manage and make sure taxpayers fulfill their obligations properly while living and working in Singapore.

TINs for business entities

In the case of businesses, companies, and other Singapore entities, the primary TIN is regarded as the Unique Entity Number (UEN).

As of January 2009, the UEN has replaced the older Tax Reference Number (TRN) system as the primary tax identifier. The number is, in most cases, issued upon registration or incorporation by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA).

During tax-related procedures, your assigned number will act as the business’s identification. Its importance is further demonstrated by its role in engaging with government agencies, financial institutions, and other stakeholders.

In Singapore, the UEN is associated with several entity ID types. These numbers are used to differentiate between businesses, local companies, and other structures such as non-profit organizations, societies, and associations.

Important Note

Important Note

The UEN will not be issued to individuals, entities that have no or only one-off interactions with just one government agency, or sub-entities such as branches and divisions.

Some government agencies may, however, add sub-entity codes to UEN if they must identify and interact with the mentioned structures.

The structure of a Tax Identification Number

Identification numbers in Singapore are available in diverse formats, each with its own specific meaning and purpose. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the structure of your TIN to better understand how it is used for business and compliance procedures.

Individual TIN structure

In the case of individuals, the TIN, either the National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number or the Foreign Identification Number (FIN), shares a common structure.

They typically follow the format: #0000000@, in which:

  • # can be “S”, “T”, “F”, “G”, or “M” depending on the status of the holder;
  • 0000000 is a 7-digit serial number assigned to the document holder;
  • @ is a checksum alphabet.

You can refer to more detailed information on the TIN’s components of an individual here.

Entity TIN structure

UENs differ from individual TINs, which are linked to personal identification documents.

Although the exact structure may vary, the general alphanumeric 9-to-10-character format of your UEN shall depend on the following factors: the issuing agency, the entity type, and the year when the UEN was issued.

General examples of the Singapore UEN

General examples of the Singapore UEN

  • UEN – Business (ROB): NNNNNNNNC (9 characters)
  • UEN – Local Company (ROC): YYYYNNNNNC (10 characters)
  • Foreign Company: F000NNNNNC or FDDDNNNNNC

What do these characters and numbers signify? To help you navigate, here is an informative table explaining each of their meanings:

Ccheck alphabet
TYY and SYYthe year of issuance:

  • T represents “20”
  • S represents “19”
PQ (For UEN – Others)the entity type (e.g. “LL” for limited liability partnership)

Keep in mind that the identification numbers should not be left blank and should have no preceding spaces. Additionally, the characters highlighted in bold represent fixed prefixes.

Obtaining your Tax Identification Number in Singapore

Now that you have gained a solid understanding of the TIN structure and its importance, it’s time to explore the process of acquiring your identifier. Upholding your tax responsibilities begins with this step.

With that being said, we will be providing a brief but concise overview of the procedures you might encounter.

The process for individuals

Singaporeans (Singapore Citizens and permanent residents)

As a citizen or permanent resident, you will be automatically assigned a TIN based on your National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number. There is no separate application required for the TIN in this case.

Foreigners holding a valid work pass

To apply for a valid TIN, you will need to register a Unique Account with the IRAS through their online portal or sign up using your SingPass account, then submit an application with your Foreign Identification Number (FIN).

How can you obtain your FIN in Singapore?

How can you obtain your FIN in Singapore?

As an Employment Pass holder, your FIN will be assigned to you by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). You can find this identifier on the work pass provided by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

For individuals holding other long-term passes like Dependent Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass, your FIN is also assigned by the ICA. Similar to EP holders, your FIN will be printed on your pass or official documents issued by MOM.

Once you have submitted your application, IRAS will review the information provided and make sure everything is in place. Typically, you can anticipate receiving your TIN, or Tax Reference Number, within 5 working days after that.

The process for businesses

If your business is not yet registered and you do not have a Unique Entity Number (UEN), the next phase is to incorporate your business in Singapore by registering with the ACRA.

Company incorporation is a pivotal step in establishing your business entity’s presence, so engaging a legal expert is crucial.

Here’s what you will need to consider during this procedure:

  • Choose a business entity
  • Register your company with the ACRA
  • Decided whether you want the normal UEN or a special one
  • Check your UEN after successfully obtaining it

Once your company’s registration is completed, the ACRA shall issue the Certificate of Incorporation.

The UEN, which typically corresponds to your ACRA Registration Number, will be prominently printed on this certificate. Unlike certain documents that require periodic renewal, your UEN is permanent.

Searching for a trusted corporate service provider to assist you with Singapore company incorporation? Look no further than BBCIncorp. Our priority is providing professional support tailored to your requirements and ensuring a smooth incorporation process. Contact us now!


After going through our detailed article on the Tax Identification Number, what are your thoughts on navigating the TIN system in Singapore?

One thing is for sure, Singapore’s Tax Identification Number (TIN) is an extremely important part of its tax system. To operate in this promising jurisdiction, it’s undeniably a step one must take to ensure tax compliance.

TINs for entities vary greatly, so entrepreneurs must recognize this before registering for their unique number. Therefore, taking the time to comprehend the TIN and its implications thoroughly is a vital step toward building a solid foundation for success in Singapore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my TIN from another country in Singapore?

No, Singapore does not accept foreign TINs. Singapore has its unique TIN system, and individuals and businesses operating in the country are required to obtain a Singapore TIN.

If you are moving to Singapore or conducting business there, make sure to engage a professional service to assist you in navigating this aspect.

Can I have multiple TINs in Singapore?

Individuals and businesses are assigned only one TIN in Singapore per entity. If you have multiple businesses or entities, each will have its own unique TIN.

Is every UEN issued by the ACRA?

Not all entities will fall under the ACRA’s purview. Depending on the nature of the entity and profession, there may be other relevant authorities responsible for assigning identification numbers.

Refer to the government’s instructions for further details.

What if you are not qualified for a common identifier (e.g. NRIC, FIN, or UEN)?

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will issue you or your entity the following identifiers if you are not qualified for an NRIC/FIN or UEN:

  • A Tax Reference Number assigned by IRAS (“ASGD”); or
  • The Income Tax Reference Number (ITR)

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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