Individuals are exempt from income tax in Brunei Darussalam.
Individuals who are partners are not subject to tax on their apportioned shares of partnership income.
No capital gains tax is levied in Brunei Darussalam.
Effective from 1 January 2013, Brunei Darussalam no longer levies estate tax.
Brunei Darussalam does not impose social security taxes. However, under the government-run Tabung Amanah Pekerja (TAP) and Supplementary Contributory Pension (SCP) employee trust fund schemes, employees who are Bruneian citizens or permanent residents and their employers are required to contribute to the funds for the benefit of the employees. Under the TAP scheme, employees must contribute at least of 5% of their basic salaries to the fund and employers must make a contribution at a minimum rate of 5% for their employees. Under the SCP scheme, the employees’ and employers’ contributions are calculated at a rate of 3.5% of basic salaries of the employees. These contributions are each subject to a maximum contribution of BND98 per month per employee. The employers withhold the employees’ contributions. These contributions and the employers’ contributions are payable monthly by the employers to the funds. These schemes do not apply to foreign nationals who are not permanent residents.
Double tax relief and tax treaties
Brunei Darussalam has entered into double tax treaties with Bahrain, China, the Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait,
Laos, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. In addition, Brunei Darussalam has signed tax treaties with Korea (South), Luxembourg, Qatar, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates, but these treaties have not yet been ratified.
- Visitor visas
In general, visitors must obtain entry visas before their visits to Brunei Darussalam. However, nationals of various countries with which Brunei Darussalam has visa arrangements are exempt from the requirement to obtain visas for visits of up to either 14 or 30 days. Visitors from the United States are exempt from the requirement to obtain visas for visits not exceeding 90 days.
Visitors to Brunei Darussalam may not take up remunerated employment during their stay in the country without the prior approval from the relevant authorities.
Work visas and self-employment
Employers in Brunei Darussalam who wish to hire foreign workers are allocated quotas that permit them to employ foreign nationals. An applicant is advised to verify with his or her potential employer that an appropriate quota is available and is suitable for the employment position and nationality of the applicant.
As in most countries, foreign workers may be employed in Brunei Darussalam for positions that cannot first be satisfied by citizens or permanent residents of the country. Therefore, employers may sometimes be required to provide justification to support their desire to hire foreign individuals by documenting their efforts to first hire locals.
For health security reasons, all foreign individuals whose applications to work in Brunei Darussalam are approved must undergo medical screen ing tests conducted by the Ministry of Health. This screening is not required for their spouses and dependent children.
Employment visas. To work in Brunei Darussalam, foreign nationals must ob tain employment visas, which are usually granted for an initial period of three months, and subsequently extended for two-year periods, if certain requirements are met.
The following are the procedures to obtain an employment visa in Brunei Darussalam:
- The employer must apply to the Department of Labor for a labor quota by submitting an application through the online Labor Control System or through an approved employment agency. The application must state the employment position and nationality of the prospective employee. It takes about 21 working days or less for a labor quota approval letter to be issued.
- The employer must then enter into an employment contract with the employee, which must be filed with the Department of Labor. The employee may also be required to attend an interview.
- The employer must submit copies of the quota approval letter, employment contract and employee’s passport to the Department of Immigration, together with a security deposit to cover the employee’s repatriation expenses. It usually requires from three to four weeks for an employment visa to be issued.
- An employment visa is initially granted on a temporary basis, usually for three months, during which the employee must undergo medical tests. The employee must also obtain an identity card, normally renewable every two years, which is issued by the Department of Immigration.
- On expiration of the initial temporary visa, if the results of the medical tests are satisfactory, an employment visa valid for a two-year period is normally granted.
The applicant may not undertake employment in Brunei Darussalam until the employment visa is granted. He or she is required to be in the country when the application for an employment visa is made with the Department of Immigration.
Self-employment. Self-employed foreign nationals, who are professionals, including doctors, dental surgeons, lawyers, accountants, architects and consulting engineers, may set up practices in Brunei Darussalam. Before applying for an employment visa, however, the professional must apply for a practicing license from the relevant government ministry. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Permanent residence visas
Brunei Darussalam has a restrictive policy on granting visas to foreign nationals wishing to take up permanent residence. Applications are usually turned down unless the foreign individual has a business or is a professional, has sufficient assets in Brunei Darussalam and has resided or been working in the country for at least 20 years, in which case the application may be considered. A foreign individual married to a Brunei Darussalam national may apply for a permanent residence visa under certain conditions.
Family and personal considerations
Family members. The spouse and dependent children of a foreign national working in Brunei Darussalam generally are not permitted to engage in any form of remunerated employment in Brunei Darussalam. If they wish to work, they must qualify independently for employment visas.
Student passes are required for dependent children and are processed in Brunei Darussalam. The International School Brunei and Jerudong Interna tional School, whose curricula are generally based on the British system, are available for expatriate children.
Driver’s permits. Holders of a valid driving license obtained in other countries are usually permitted to drive in Brunei Darus salam for a limited period.
A holder of a foreign driver’s license who wishes to obtain a Brunei Darussalam license may apply to the Department of Land Transport for exemption from having to take a full driving test.
Full or partial exemption may be granted, depending on how long the applicant has had a valid license and on the country that issued the applicant’s license.
If no license is held, a full driving test, which includes both written and practical examinations, must be taken. Applicants are advised to seek professional help from driving schools because the administrative and application procedures may be complicated and the waiting time for a driving test appointment may take up to three months.