Meet a few of our people from different roles and discover what work is like at IRAS from their perspectives.
Fresh Graduate Hires
Alvin Leung Kah Choong, Senior Tax Officer, Goods & Services Tax Division
Upon graduating from NTU’s Bachelor of Accountancy programme, Alvin joined IRAS as part of the Customer Service Team in the Goods and Services Tax - General Branch. Since then, Alvin’s core work revolves around conducting field-based audits to deter non-compliance and supporting taxpayers on GST-related matters. Alvin shares that he finds fulfilment in tackling challenges through his daily course of work and ad-hoc projects, and has also picked up new skills along the way through on-the-job training, self-learning and
learning from his seniors.
Tang Shu Qiao, Senior Tax Officer, Property Tax Division
A Law degree graduate from NUS, Shu Qiao took a different path from his peers by committing himself to doing assessment work in the Property Tax – Valuation & Stamp Duty Branch. On a day-to-day basis, Shu Qiao receives requests from the public to assess the stamp duty chargeable on their transactions, or to consider cases with special circumstances. He finds joy in rendering assistance to the public, as well as bouncing ideas off his teammates when discussing various cases.
Tan You Bao, Principal Tax Policy and Ruling Officer, Tax Policy & Ruling Branch
You Bao had her first taste of IRAS’ work as a secondee, and subsequently decided to join the IRAS family when the opportunity presented itself. Previously a part of the Account Management team in the Corporate Tax - Services Branch, You Bao’s
core work had revolved around working with small corporations to encourage compliance. She addressed and clarified tax matters raised by these corporations, as well as reviewed and finalised their tax assessments. You Bao found it rewarding to help
companies gain a better understanding of their tax obligations. As tax policies are constantly being updated and reviewed, it is also fulfilling to her when she is able to share the changes with the companies and help them address their immediate
concerns. She has since moved on to another portfolio in the Tax Policy & Ruling Branch.
Tan Puay See, Senior Enterprise Grants Officer, Revenue & Corporate Services Division
Prior to joining IRAS in early 2020, Puay See was a Relationship Officer at a local bank. As part of the team administering the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS), Puay See’s day-to-day duties include answering queries on the scheme from employers and ensuring
compliance with WCS conditions through conducting audits and data analysis to deter abuse and fraud. Puay See feels that while the work at IRAS can be fast-paced and challenging, it is also rewarding and satisfying. She has built strong friendships
at work, and also enjoys interacting with her managers to learn more from their experiences.
Cherish Goh, Manager, Enforcement Division
Cherish knew what she wanted in a career since she was young. Her interest in math and numbers, and her passion for meaningful work, made IRAS the perfect fit for her. Attracted by IRAS’ focus on people development and forward-thinking mentality,
Cherish went on to apply for the IRAS Merit Undergraduate Scholarship and was successful in securing a sponsorship for her studies in the Bachelor of Accountancy programme at the Singapore Management University. The transition from theory to practical
application was seamless, as the tax modules she learnt about in school gave her a better understanding and appreciation of our tax system.
From the get-go, Cherish had the opportunity to be rotated and exposed to different functions. Her role has evolved over the years and that’s what makes a career in IRAS interesting. She started off as a frontline officer handling Goods and Services Tax enquiries, before she was rotated to work on audit and policy work and was also involved in a variety of projects, including Digitalising Stamp Duty. These projects broadened her exposure to the needs and structure of the organisation, preparing her to take on more challenging duties.
As part of IRAS’ designated role as Centre of Excellence for disbursements to enterprises, the Enterprise Grants Management (EGM) team was set-up and Cherish was heavily involved in the formulation and implementation of these disbursements. The team administers government disbursements such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) Scheme. In her current role, Cherish oversees a team which looks into antigaming and end-to-end audits relating to enterprise grants.
In her work in EGM, Cherish finds the meaning she sought in a career: “The grants that we disburse go on to support businesses, employees and in turn the wider economy. Our antigaming efforts play a critical role in safeguarding the country’s resources to ensure that grants are duly disbursed and egregious cases are taken to task.” The work is challenging as the team has to crunch enormous volumes of data and develop a strategic understanding of the issues in a short span of time. To overcome the challenge, Cherish highlights the importance of frank, open communications within her teams and above all, strong camaraderie to help one another whenever someone faces difficulties at work. Cherish has since joined the Enforcement Division.
It was with a smile on her face that Cherish appreciated the abundant opportunities at IRAS not to just work with colleagues from different divisions, but also those from other statutory boards and ministries. “IRAS has different experiences to offer and one can expect to be constantly challenged,” she said. “Be passionate about contributing and be ready to take on challenges. It is also important to stay grounded and humble so that we are able to empathise with taxpayers’ needs and make good policy decisions.”
Pang Jun Liang, IRAS Merit Undergraduate Scholarship
Pang Jun Liang is one of those inspired by a good tax policy decision. Having a personal interest in tax policies and how it stimulates the economy, he came across the Productivity and Innovation Credit+ scheme in Budget 2014 and was intrigued at the impact of these fiscal policies and the long-term productive potential. Deeply intrigued to explore tax policies as a source of economic improvement, Jun Liang completed his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy at NUS under the IRAS Merit Undergraduate Scholarship.
The IRAS Scholarship has allowed Jun Liang to study in-depth about public policies and taxation. A rewarding internship experience with the Investigation and Forensics Division at IRAS in the summer of 2019 also took him further into the fascinating world of tax. “The internship exposed me to the unique perspective of countering tax evasion. I picked up practical investigation skills, which cannot be taught through an academic setting,” he recalled. “The most interesting aspect of the internship involved putting together the chronological flow of events based on piecemeal, and even contradictory evidence from different sources. I felt like a ‘detective’ on a crime show!”
He looks forward to working in IRAS upon graduation, where he can put this multi-layered understanding of a variegated field to good use serving the public’s tax needs. “If I am given the opportunity to work on tax policies, I intend to integrate the policy analysis skills acquired from my Master in Public Policy programme with my tax, accounting and business knowledge for a nuanced perspective.”
He is also looking forward to working side by side with his colleagues upon graduation. “IRAS has a very supportive and cohesive work culture! I joined IRAS as an intern with no prior knowledge on investigation or audit works. However, the mentoring by approachable and supportive colleagues and supervisors greatly helped to ease the learning curve.”
That stands him – and any aspiring IRAS Scholar – in good stead as tax develops and changes with the times. Jun Liang enthused: “Tax is an exciting and rapidly changing field due to trends such as the BEPS framework, digital economy taxation, and very recently the global minimum corporate tax proposed by the United States.”
David, Infocomm Specialist
In David’s final year of university where he was studying computing, he interned with IRAS for 6 months. During which, he was roped into creating a system to allow tax administrations across the globe to share financial statements of companies with each other and counter tax evasion. David was subsequently offered a full-time position at the end of his internship.
“Why did I choose to accept the offer? One thing I know for sure was the sense of family that I had found and the close bonds that had been formed with my colleagues, who have always been friendly and open to supporting each other. But on top of that, it was also the chance to build a new system in IRAS using new and modern technologies– and the chance to build my knowledge in such new technologies – that sent me running back here after graduation.” Today, David is part of a project team tasked with upgrading IRAS’ main ICT system from the second to third generation using modern technologies and tools to build microservice and containerised applications. Known as the Inland Revenue Interactive Network, or IRIN, this system is used by close to 5 million entities annually and underpins Singapore’s tax administration and revenue collection service.
While key changes to the architecture (for example, IRAS is shifting from the current monolithic architecture to microservices) mean there is much to be learned and lots of trial and error involved, David muses that: “It’s been a great ride so far doing what I signed up for! This has truly given me the opportunity to pick up new technologies and challenge my technical skills as well as building my software architecture skills by having to design and build such sophisticated tax system.” Beyond that, David works as a full stack developer developing the front to back ends of IRAS’ systems to either enhance or create new systems to support new tax functions and channels for communication.
“The one thing that I truly appreciate here is the openness towards new and innovative ideas that could solve business issues – something that ties in well with a personal goal of mine,” David shared. “For personal development, I often try to put aside a portion of my time to stretch myself by working on hands-on side projects. As many would know, booking a meeting room or even just a seat for vendors in the office can sometimes be quite a pain administratively. Which is why, with the support of bosses, a personal project of mine outside our core work has been to create a cinema-style booking system for one of our offices in the building. It hasn’t been deployed yet, but it’s ready!”He is only at the start of an exhilarating journey, but if someone were to ask him about a career with IRAS, particularly one in technology, hereis his take: “If you’re looking to explore and work with new and modern technologies, do consider IRAS and join us on our journey to deliver the best taxpayer experience.”