IRAS Gallery

The Singapore Tax Story

Audio Guide
TO TAX OR NOT TO TAX?
1862
View of Boat Quay fom Empress Place

Finding the Right Balance
A tax-free Singapore resulted in much of it remaining undeveloped. The collection of stamp duties in 1863 helped the government to develop public services. For the first time, the colonial administration could balance its books.

By 1900, opium tax constituted 50% of government revenue. However, widespread opium addiction led to calls to end its sale. To widen the sources of revenue, estate duty and betting and sweepstakes duty were introduced.
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Learn more about the
taxes in colonial Singapore
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Learn more about
opium tax in early Singapore