IRAS Annual Report 2016/17

24 Aug 2017

  • Singapore’s Tax Revenue Up 5%

  • High On-Time Filing Rates Across Tax Types

  • Service Enhancements to Partner Taxpayers and Facilitate Compliance


In Financial Year (FY) 2016/17, IRAS collected $47 billion in tax revenue, close to 5% more than the collection in FY2015/16. The increase in revenue collection was supported by the expansion of Singapore’s economy by 2% in 2016 and the low unemployment rate of 2.1%. Cost of collection remained low at 0.84 cents for every dollar collected.

Tax compliance in Singapore remained high and tax arrears was kept low at 0.68% of net tax assessed. In FY 2016/17, we also enhanced tax cooperation with our international counterparts in the fight against tax evasion through the signing of bilateral Competent Authority Agreements (CAAs) that allow for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). We also implemented the Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) regime for Singapore Multinational Enterprises as part of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. We continue to work towards the signing of multilateral agreements1, to underline and re-affirm Singapore’s commitment to the international standards on tax cooperation.

As part of our efforts to continue to facilitate cross-border investment and trade, we signed two new Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with Cambodia and Ethiopia, and updated the terms of existing DTAs with India and South Africa. As at the end of FY 2016, 82 of Singapore’s 84 comprehensive DTAs are in force.

Taxes for Nation-Building

Income Tax (Corporate Income Tax, Individual Income Tax and Withholding Tax) collection made up 54% of IRAS’ collection and was $1.1 billion over the amount collected from FY2015/16. This was due to a 14% or $1.3 billion increase in collection from Individual Income Tax – the result of higher individual earnings and cessation of one-off personal rebates given in YA2015. Corporate Income Tax decreased marginally by 1.6% to $13.6 billion from the previous financial year.

GST collection increased to $11.1 billion from $10.3 billion in FY2015/16, while Property Tax collection decreased slightly in FY2016/17 by 2.1% to $4.4 billion. Stamp Duty collection increased by 18.4% to $3.3 billion due to a higher number of property transactions.

IRAS collection by tax type
Breakdown of IRAS' FY2016/17 Collection by Tax Type

IRAS' collection accounts for 68.2% of the Government’s Operating Revenue (GOR). The revenue is used to support the Government’s objectives to build an innovative and connected economy, sustain a quality living environment and promote a caring and inclusive society.

Govt Spending FY2016
Breakdown of Government spending by FY20162

New initiatives and System Enhancements to Help Taxpayers File and Pay On Time

Singapore’s taxpayers continued to file and pay on time, contributing to a 96.7%-high on-time filing rate by individuals, and 83.2%-high on-time filing rate by companies. 90.8% of individual taxpayers and 86% of corporate taxpayers paid their taxes on time.

New service initiatives, as well as system and process enhancements, contributed to taxpayers’ ease of filing and paying taxes. In 2016, IRAS embarked on a movement – LEA:D- to redefine taxpayers’ experiences by LEveraging Analytics, Design and Digitalisation. As part of the LEA:D movement, we intensified efforts to understand taxpayers’ needs and work with the community to co-create solutions. We completed service design projects and held the inaugural IRAS Hackathon, from which good ideas and insights were surfaced.

Initiatives and System Enhancements

"I am encouraged by the early successes and the projects we have completed. We will sustain the momentum and work closer towards achieving our vision of becoming the leading revenue authority in the world.” 
– Mr Tan Tee How, Commissioner of Inland Revenue / Chief Executive Officer

Deterring Non-Compliance

For the minority of taxpayers who are non-compliant, IRAS takes steps to ensure they pay their fair share. We continued to strengthen our compliance capabilities to detect and prevent non-compliance through the use of advanced analytics techniques, including audit selection and fraud detection.

In FY 2016/17, we uncovered 10,626 non-compliant cases and recovered about $332 million in taxes and penalties through rigorous audits and investigations.

Highlights of FY2016/17 Annual Report at a Glance

Please refer to Annex A for more highlights from the Annual Report FY2016/17.

Tax Statistics at a Glance

The latest tax statistics are available here.


1Singapore signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreements (MCAAs) on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information under the CRS and the Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports on 21 June 2017.
2Source: Singaporebudget.gov.sg – “Analysis of Revenue and Expenditure (Financial Year 2017)”; Note that the expenditure estimates do not include Special Transfers and spending from Government Endowment and Trust Funds.

Annex A

IRAS at a Glance 1
IRAS at a Glance 2