Property Tax Audits by IRAS

Audits involve reviewing the accuracy of the information in your property tax returns. The audits are conducted to assess the likelihood of risk. Being selected for an audit does not necessarily mean that you have made a mistake.

Purposes of Audit

These are the purposes of IRAS' audit programme:

  • Identify taxpayers who have made mistakes in their tax returns;
  • Create an audit presence in the community to deter non-compliance by other taxpayers;
  • Educate taxpayers on their tax obligations and how to comply; and
  • Identify tax laws, policies and processes where we can simplify or clarify.

What to Expect During an Audit

Audits are conducted through an inspection of your property and/or examination of your ownership, occupancy, rental and accounting records to verify that property tax returns submitted are in compliance with tax laws.

Notification of Audit

We will inform taxpayers of the timing of audit by way of letter, email or telephone call before the visit is made.

Documents and Records

IRAS will let you know the types of documents or records to be reviewed. You can arrange for your property tax/legal consultants to be present on the day of visit.

The types of documents or records reviewed include:

  1. Floor plans/architectural drawings/approved building plans and permits;
  2. Tenancy/lease agreements/invoices;
  3. Accounting records, payment/cost/rent schedules (electronic/paper format); and
  4. Any other records of transactions related to your properties.

Tax Auditors

Audits are carried out by authorised IRAS property tax officers. To enable taxpayers to identify our officers, we carry special authority cards issued by IRAS, bearing the name and identification of the officer. Should you require confirmation on the identity of the holder, please call IRAS on 6351 2044 or 6351 2046.

Responsibilities of Taxpayers for Audits

  1. Allow full access to your premises, records and documents;
  2. Allow us to interview your employees/tenants/agents/representatives;
  3. Allow us to make copies or obtain extracts of records and documents;
  4. Provide timely, complete and accurate replies to our requests for information in accordance to the time frame given; and
  5. Be truthful and cooperative - full disclosure of irregularities and omissions should be made at the earliest possible time.

Offence to Obstruct or Hinder

Under Section 56 of the Property Tax Act, it is an offence for any person to obstruct or hinder any officer acting in the discharge of his duty under the Act.

Any person guilty of this offence is liable to a fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment of up to three months or both. Giving of false information is also an offence under Section 57 of the Property Tax Act and carries a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.

Tips for Individual Homeowners/Tenants

  1. Engage reputable real estate professionals to represent you in property tax matters, where necessary, to assist in providing relevant information to us.
  2. Practise good record-keeping of your property information (eg: tenancy agreements, building information and approved drawings).

Tips for Corporate Owners/Tenants

  1. Engage reputable real estate professionals to represent you in property tax matters, where necessary, to assist in providing relevant information to us.
  2. Practise good record-keeping of your property information (e.g. tenancy agreements, building information and approved drawings).
  3. Have good internal controls.
  4. Conduct periodic reviews of your returns and to disclose any error voluntarily.

Conclusion of Audit

At the end of the audit, you will be informed of the outcome. If there are penalties, you will be informed of the penalties and the reasons. Where necessary, a warning letter may be issued to remind you of the importance of compliance.

Penalties may be reduced for voluntary disclosures which meet the qualifying conditions under IRAS' Voluntary Disclosure Programme .

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