Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
Logo of the IRAS
Agency overview
Formed 1992 (1992)
Preceding agency
  • Inland Revenue Department
Jurisdiction Government of Singapore
Headquarters 55 Newton Road, Revenue House, Singapore 307987
Agency executives
  • Mrs Tan Ching Yee, Chairman
  • Mr Ng Wai Choong, Commissioner
Parent agency Ministry of Finance (Singapore)

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Chinese: 新加坡国内税务局, Malay: Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Singapura) is a statutory board of the Singapore Government under the Ministry of Finance of the Singapore government in charge of tax collection.


Early beginnings

The Singapore Income Tax Department was created in 1947 to administer the Income Tax Ordinance enacted during that year.[1]

Actual assessing of tax only began in November 1948. In the first Year of Assessment, about 40,000 individual tax returns and 1,000 corporate returns were received. The total tax collected for the period 1 January 1948 to 31 December 1949 was $33.2 million.


Following self-government in 1959, the Inland Revenue Department was formed in 1960 when various revenues administered and collected by a number of separate agencies were brought together.

When Singapore attained independence on 9 August 1965, substantial changes were made to the Income Tax Act, which came into effect on 1 January 1966.


By this time, the number of Acts that came under the Department's purview had increased to twelve. That year also saw the appointment of the first local Commissioner, Mr Hsu Tse-Kwang.

This period witnessed the growth of the service sector and substantial resources were devoted to staff training. In 1972, microfilming was stepped up to save space and reduce file handling. Property tax billing and collection were also computerised.


Singapore became a more expensive place for businesses with the rapid developments. Changes were introduced to government policies, incentives and taxes in order to make the economy more competitive. The late 1980s witnessed a significant shift towards lowering both corporate and individual taxes. In 1987 corporate tax rates were lowered from 40% to 33%.


This period witnessed major changes in tax policies. There was a shift towards lower direct taxes and the focus was on indirect taxes. The trend towards indirect taxation resulted in the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 1994. It is a tax on domestic consumption and applies to all goods and services supplied in Singapore except for financial services and residential properties. It was in this period that the trend of lowering corporate and individual tax rates accelerated.

2000 to 2010/2016

Investment and talent attraction policies have been the focus at present. Tax rates were further lowered and currently capped at 18% (till 2010 YA2010 for YE2009) for companies and 20% (till 2017 YA16) for individuals.

2010/2017 and beyond

17% companies and max 22% [2] for individuals

Incorporation of IRAS

On 1 September 1992, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) was established by legislation as a statutory board under the Ministry of Finance. With this conversion, IRAS was incorporated by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore Act to take over the functions previously performed by the Inland Revenue Department.

The conversion was to give IRAS the autonomy and flexibility to manage its personnel and financial resources.

Taxes administered by IRAS

As the Singapore Government's principal revenue collection body, IRAS collects Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST),[3] Property Tax, Estate Duty, Betting and Sweepstakes Duties, Stamp Duties and Casino Tax. Blogging is taxable in Singapore if it constitute gains or profits from a trade or a business under section 10(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1947 (ITA).[4]

The other tax types in Singapore which are not collected by IRAS are:

  • Levies on motor vehicles (Land Transport Authority)
  • Customs and excise duties (Singapore Customs)
  • Foreign worker levy (Ministry of Manpower)
  • Water conservation tax (Public Utilities Board)


IRAS collected S$47 billion in tax revenue in FY2016/17.[5] Tax arrears remained low at 0.68% of net tax assessed and cost of collection was also kept low at 0.84 cents for every dollar collected. In FY2016/17, IRAS uncovered 10,626 non-compliant cases and recovered about $332 million in taxes and penalties through rigorous audits and investigation.

See also


  1. "Income Tax Act (CHAPTER 134)". Singapore Statutes Online. Attorney-General's Chambers. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  3. Ng, Huiwen. "Ex-property agent jailed, fined for forging stamp certificate". Straits Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  4. Yap, Jacky. "Taxman knocks on bloggers' doors". Vulcan Post. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  5. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (24 August 2017). "IRAS Annual Report 2016/2017".
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